How to give new life to poultry and wine industry waste

Food industry waste management is a critical issue, considering the environmental and health hazards involved with production and processing. For example, the poultry industry generates a vast amount of feather waste every year, most of which ends up in landfill or goes through an energy-intensive process to be converted into low-grade animal feed. According to the European Commission, 13.1 million tonnes of poultry meat were produced in the EU in 2014. 

The EU-funded KARMA2020 project is looking to transform this waste by-product into innovative green raw materials that could be used in various applications. These include biodegradable food packaging plastics, slow-release fertilisers, flame-retardant coatings and composite materials.

Quoted in a news article, project coordinator Sarah Montes said: “Most of the waste is a profitable material. Due to its high keratin content, feathers are likely to produce plastics that are stronger and more tear-resistant compared to those using modified starch or plant proteins, for example.”



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