Reuse and increase in value of feathers and down by a textile company.
The customer contacted LMPE to solve a problem related to the disposal of waste from its production cycle. Such waste, consisting of duck and goose feathers and down, represented a company cost as they had to be properly disposed of.
LMPE has undertaken and set up work on several fronts to understand the material and find the best applications for such waste.
The first step was the study of scientific and patent literature to identify the methods of characterization of the materials under examination and the most recent and promising strategies for possible applications.
Morphological, thermal, and chemical characterizations were performed to understand the properties in detail. The carried-out analysis revealed that these materials were mainly made of proteins, in particular keratin.
Research has shown that the best uses for feathers include:
- Production of hydrolysates: therefore used as fertilizers or ingredients in feed
- Extraction of keratin through ionic liquids: used in the cosmetic industry
- Obtaining plastics: used as biodegradable materials
- Composites: used as biodegradable materials
Based on the obtained results, the customer decided to explore in detail the creation of biodegradable composites.
Using biodegradable matrices together with feather waste, LMPE has created a series of materials by varying the composition and concentration of waste.
The material judged best, considering characteristics such as rigidity, biodegradability, and lightness, is suitable for injection molding and is used in the manufacture of objects such as hangers or similar. Fillers for travel cushions were created using small spheres, demonstrating a practical and efficient application of biodegradable composites obtained.
Thanks to in-depth research and experimentation, LMPE has therefore been able to provide customers with innovative solutions for the enhancement of feather and down waste, transforming them into useful and sustainable materials to make products with different applications. This has made it possible to zero the cost of disposal, promote environmental sustainability, and above all to offer to the Customer the expansion of its product range.