Feathers Can Be for More Than Pillow Stuffin' by ProQuest


[...] the pots-manufactured without any petroleum components- would slowly release beneficial nitrogen into the soil. Air filters made with feather fiber will have smaller holes, which would result in more spores, dust, dander, and other allergens being removed from the air and trapped in the filter.

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									                                                                                                STEPHEN AUSMUS (D1503-21)

Feathers Can Be for More
Than Pillow Stuffin’

         f at first you don’t succeed, try, try

                                                  Schmidt’s persistence has paid off. In
         again. For some, that is just an old     collaboration with the Horticultural Re-
         saying; to others, it is a mantra.       search Institute (HRI)—the research and
         ARS chemist Walter Schmidt has           development endowment of the American
         lived it for years.                      Nursery and Landscape Association,
  Schmidt, in the Environmental Manage-           based in Washington, D.C.—Schmidt and
ment and Byproduct Utilization Labora-            HRI research associate Masud Huda have
tory in Beltsville, Maryland, develops            formulated planting pots that can degrade
practical uses for discarded chicken feath-       over variable periods of time—from 1 to
ers. About 4 billion pounds of feathers are       5 years.
generated each year during the poultry               The pots look and feel like any other
production process.                               plastic planters encountered at your local
  In 1998, ARS published its first story          nursery, but they are made to disintegrate
about Schmidt’s research—using chicken            naturally, without harm to the environ-
feather fiber in the formation of plastics.       ment. In fact, the pots—manufactured
                                                  without any petroleum components—
                                                  would slowly release beneficial nitrogen
                                                  into the soil.
                                                     While feathers are routinely processed
STEPHEN AUSMUS (D1480-1)                          into feather meal—a livestock feed in-
                                                  gredient—there are a lot more chicken
                                                  feathers available. Why can’t they just be
                                                  used to stuff pillows?
                                                                                                Using an injection molder at the
                                                  Chicken Processing Industry                   Environmental Management and Byproduct
                                                    Chicken processors are very efficient       Utilization Laboratory in Beltsville,
                                                                                                Maryland, polymer chemist Masud Huda
                                                  businesses, finding ways to automate          (background), chemist Walter Schmidt
                                                  most of the procedures for getting chick-     (center), and Marc Teffeau, director of
                                                  ens from farm to market. They have also       research for the Washington, D.C.-based
                                                  reduced the amount of water used during       Horticultural Research Institute, produce
                                                                                                biodegradable flowerpots from chicken
                                                  processing. But when all is said and done,    feathers.
                                                  they are still left with a lot of feathers.
                                                    Goose down is used to st
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