Researchers are developing ways to substitute chicken feathers for petroleum in some plastics, and at least two companies are working to bring items from flower pots to office furniture to market.
The technology would allow the United States to cut back on its oil use, however slightly, and give poultry producers another market for the more than three billion feathers leftover each year.
Researchers say the challenge is coming up with products that manufacturers and consumers want at a price that's right.
Sonny Meyerhoeffer is president of Eastern Bioplastics LLC in Virginia, which sells gardening containers made from 40-percent keratin resin from feathers. Meyerhoeffer says it will be at least a year before products are sold that are made completely from bioresins.
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