Tomorrow 22 April will be Earth Day, a time dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices to protect our planet. As we reflect on the impact that human activities have on the Earth, it's important to consider how we can shift towards more sustainable and circular economic models that minimise waste and protect natural resources.
One promising approach is the circular bio-economy, which involves using renewable biological resources to produce food, materials, and energy in a closed-loop system. By doing so, we can reduce our reliance on finite resources and reduce waste by reusing and recycling materials.
The UNLOCK project is a good example of how circular bio-economy can be applied using feathers as a raw material for agricultural products. Feathers are a by-product of the poultry industry and are often considered waste.
Unprocessed feather waste contains a large number of microorganisms that can pose a significant environmental risk if they end up in landfills. This can lead to pollution of different environmental compartments, including surface and groundwater, air, and soil, which can have a negative impact on biodiversity.
However, by valorising feather waste into keratin-based products, we can realise additional environmental benefits. The end products from UNLOCK offer several advantages, including:
Implementing circular bio-economy practices like we do in UNLOCK can help us move towards a more sustainable future, where we use resources more efficiently and responsibly. As we celebrate Earth Day, let's remember the importance of protecting our planet and working towards a circular bio-economy that benefits both people and environment.