The Shellworks collective recycles lobster shells into various types of bioplastic

Type of organisation or company
United Kingdom
Language for original content
Submitted by
Technopolis Group

The Shellworks designers’ collective recycles seafood shells to make bioplastic.

After collecting seafood waste from restaurants, the company’s Shelly extractor extracts chitin - the second most abundant biopolymer in the world, after cellulose - from crushed seafood shells. The fine white powder resulting from crushing is mixed with household vinegar to make liquid bioplastic.

Liquid bioplastic is then turned into rigid objects (Dippy), like flowerpots, containers, cups, etc., or translucent sheets of bioplastic (Sheety) to produce bags.

Shellworks products are compostable and can biodegrade in a marine, soil, or home environment.

Main results
  • Millions of tonnes of crustacean waste containing chitin are produced each year, and chitin is also found in insect shells and the walls of fungi.
  • At the end of their lives, Shellworks bioplastic objects can be composted or recycled to make new objects.
  • As it degrades, a bioplastic plant pot acts as a natural fertiliser for the soil.