In our homes, we are aware of the need to recycle paper, plastic and glass. But agriculture has other problems, and one of the biggest is chicken feathers. We may be able to make clothes out of them. Now scientists are trying to figure out how to recycle these feathers into biodegradable plastic, which would solve OUR disposal problems as well!

In, Jeanna Bryner reports that chickens are related to the largest dinosaur that every roamed the earth: Tyrannosaurus rex. Rex died 68 million years ago, but some of its bones have been found that still contain soft tissue, which can be tested for DNA. A comparison with chicken genes showed that the two species are related.

But feathers aren’t the only disposal problem we have. Since plastic is now made from petroleum, which is in short supply, recycling is more important than ever. In, Andrea Thompson reports that scientists are trying to make plastics out of corn, soybeans and animal waste (such as feathers). She quotes researcher Justin Barone as saying, “Twelve percent of all plastic packaging ends up in landfills because only a fraction is recycled. Once in a landfill, it doesn’t biodegrade. The challenge is, how can we create a simpler plastic bag or a bottle that will biodegrade?” The EPA reports that plastic packaging adds 29 million tons of non-biodegradable waste to landfills every year.

Trash is evolving, just like everything else. We now have trash that’s safe to toss in the ocean, as well as cars that run on used cooking reports that trash is now being used to create Bitublocks, which are bricks that can be used to construct buildings. Engineer John Forth says, “Bitublocks use up to 100% waste materials and avoid sending them to landfill, which is quite unheard of in the building industry.” They are made out of recycled glass, sewage sludge, incinerator ash, the by-products of metal purification and pulverized ash from power stations. According to Forth, “Less energy is required to manufacture the Bitublock than a traditional concrete block, and it?s about six times as strong, so it?s quite a high-performance product.” Next, he wants to create a Vegeblock out of used vegetable oil.

Art credit:

William Henry never wastes anything?he recycles ancient myths and legends and breathes new life into them by taking them SERIOUSLY. Discover this extraordinary writer and listen to this week?s Dreamland, as he interviews an extraordinary adventurer!

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