How a Dutch Designer Turns Cow Poop Into Biodegradable Fabric
Cow manure is good for more than fertilizer, according to Jalila Essaïdi, a Netherlands-based designer and the founder of BioArt Laboratories. Essaïdi developed a process to recycle poop into plastic, paper, and fabric, which she then uses to create wearable garments and other useful products, according to Seeker.
Large amounts of cow poop—farm animals excrete more than 300 million tons of the smelly stuff annually in the U.S.—can increase the phosphorous and nitrogen levels in surface and groundwater. That polluted water causes harmful algal blooms and can increase humans' risk of developing cancer, Seeker notes. To combat that, Essaïdi tells Dezeen that her project, titled Mestic, involves drying the manure and extracting the cellulose from the eaten grass to make poo paper. Acids from the liquid are also extracted to create a liquid plastic known as cellulose acetate, which is where the designer gets the fibers to make bio-plastics and textiles for her biodegradable products.
After tackling the cow poop problem, Essaïdi says, she and her colleagues plan to move on to other types of animal excrement. "This is not the first time that scientists are looking for ways to solve the manure problem," she said to the design site, "But it is the first time that manure is being considered as a valuable resource."
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