Design Roundup: Lobster Golf Balls, $10K Sustainable Phone, More

Design Roundup: Lobster Golf Balls, $10K Sustainable Phone, More

Lobster - CC license by law_keven (Flickr)

 In another example of ways researchers are finding new uses for sea creatures, University of Maine bioengineers have made golf balls out of ground lobster shells, the Bangor Daily News reports. Since the balls don't fly as far as typically ones and start cracking after one or two hits, the balls aren't intended to be replacements for playing on fairways. Instead, due to the fact that they break down in water in about a week, the researchers say the balls, which divert lobster shells from the trash, could find an audience on cruise ships.

Coca-Cola has shifted all of its single-serve Odwalla juice and Dasani water bottles to sugarcane-based PlantBottles. While the Odwalla bottles are 100 percent plant-based, the Dasani bottles are only 30 percent since the drink company has yet to figure out how to make the rest of PET plastic (Odwalla's bottles are made of a differnt plastic, HPDE) out of plants. Pepsi says it has a 100 percent PET bottle, but it won't be on shelves until 2012. Both bottles are recyclable in current recycling systems.

Bic's French arm, Societe Bic SA, is making wood-free pencils out of refrigerator plastic, reports Waste & Recycling News. Axion Polymers recycles the fridges, which can yield enough plastic for about 640 pencils each. The pencils, sold under Bic's Ecolution range, can be sharpened just like wood ones, Bic says.

A couple years ago we reported on Australian researchers that were turning waste chicken feathers into clothing, and now scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln announced they've made feather-based plastics that don't weaken when wet, says Science Daily. The researchers say the thermoplastics (a broad category of plastics used to make tons of consumer and industrial goods) they can make from feathers are stronger and have other better properties than plastics made from plants or crops. The 11 billion chicken feathers that are disposed of globally (3 billion of which come from the U.S.) each year are typically turned into animal feed, incinerated or dumped in landfills.

Heirloom design, or making things that can last a lifetime or more, is a concept that's gained some attention in sustainable design circles. Aesir, a design group out of Denmark, with the help of designer Yves Béhar, took a crack at making a cell phone that can be taken apart easily, has swappable parts and is long-lasting. Carrying a $10,000 price tag (or $60,000 for the gold version), the AE+Y phone is made with stainless steel and gold parts (including screws), a ceramic body and a crystal sapphire screen that is held into place without glue. Along with shunning plastic, it has no camera and doesn't connect to the internet. 

Lobster - CC license by law_keven (Flickr)