A number of industries are actually byproducts of the meat industry: leather, glue, gelatin, certain textiles, foam stabilizers and even feed supplements. Two English entrepreneurs have another to add to the list: building insulation… made from chicken feathers.
More than 50 billion chickens are slaughtered annually for food, Fast Company reports. That number is only rising: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts that by 2020 the white meat will surpass global consumption of beef, pork and fish.
So what to do with the more than 11,000 tons of chicken feathers going to waste every day? Enter Elena Dieckman and Ryan Robinson, who while students at Imperial College London realized the keratin in claws, hair, horns, scales—and of course feathers, which are more than 90 percent protein—were perfect insulators. Their class project took these waste feathers and turned them into insulation.