EU R&D and Innovations

Bioplastics Made from Chicken Feathers

EU Project KARMA 2020 wants to transform chicken feathers into biodegradable plastics.

The European poultry industry generated around 3.1 million tons of feather waste in 2014. Chicken feather waste is usually incinerated or landfilled.

Feathers are made up of 90% keratin, the same fibrous protein that gives hair, hoofs and horns their toughness.

The researchers believe that due to the high keratin content of feathers, they will produce a bioplastics that is stronger and more tear-resistant than starch or plant based bioplastics, however there are some technical challenges:

  • feathers have to be sanitised before processing, to remove all pathogens;
  • feathers are light and fly away which make processing with traditional machinery complicated.

The official description of the project is: Industrial Feather Waste Valorisation for Sustainable KeRatin based Materials. Total cost is €6.7 Mln and EU contribution is € 5.9 Mln

This is an EU-funded project that falls under the “Horizon 2020” programme: Sustainable, resource-efficient and low-carbon technologies in energy-intensive process industries.

Participants and beneficiary of the project

bioplastics from chicken feathers karma2020



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