Commend Scientists for Developing Earth-Friendly Plastic

Heterocarpus ensifer shrimp

Target: Harvard Wyss Institute team members, Javier Fernandez and Don Ingber

Goal: Applaud the discovery of a completely degradable bioplastic that enriches the soil as it decomposes

A team from the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has successfully developed a plastic-like product called “shrilk.” Using the shells of shrimp, the scientists singled out the chitosan polymer in order to make it capable of forming three dimensional shapes like cups, plates, and a variety of other useful, everyday items.

Unlike normal petroleum-based plastics or other bioplastics made from cellulose, this bioplastic can fully decompose in about two weeks, but only if the item is returned to the soil. As long as the product is still being used, it will not decompose. Not only does this aid in the fight to lessen household waste and reduce the strain on our nation’s landfills, but when the product is eventually returned to the soil, it releases helpful nutrients that enhance plant growth.

The next step in the Harvard scientists’ research is to move their process out of their university laboratories and partner with an affluent industrial source to see if shrilk can be successful in a real-world setting. Please sign the petition below to encourage the research efforts of the Harvard Wyss Institute team and to thank them for their dedication to protecting our environment and reducing household waste.


Dear Dr. Fernandez and Dr. Ingber,

Your team has recently established a breakthrough in closed system technologies with your “shrilk” bioplastic technique. Our world’s dependence on petroleum is a huge problem that our modern societies are facing, and it must have been challenging to think outside the box and create something that functions in a way that contrasts what we have all been taught.

However, because of the successes of you and your team, you have contributed to widening the small glimmer of hope in people’s eyes as they read about what maybe the world could be like. Your research is highly important in reminding people that a different world is possible. Your continued research and hopefully continued success could potentially give people incentive to make changes in their daily lives that will reduce our household waste and preserve our environment for generations to come.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: NOAA via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Marie Honey'Jones says:

    Not signing!

    Poor shrimps.

    • Genevieve Emerson Genevieve Emerson says:

      To clarify, no additional shrimps are harmed-all shrimp shells used are ones that are discarded from shrimp that are fished to be eaten, which is sad, but they are just trying to make use of all parts of the shrimp so as not to disrespect the shrimp’s memory further.

  2. Ruth Rogers Ruth Rogers says:


  3. Ruth Rogers Ruth Rogers says:

    Hope that the earth-friendly bio-degrade-able plastic when proven to be earth and people friendly — will be low cost and on the market soon!

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