Creating a Sustainable Material from Seashell Waste
Verra Febrianti Musriana (ID)
Verra and Olivia brainstormed the original idea together. Unfortunately, Olivia could not continue due to unforeseen circumstances, and Verra proceeded with both material and design exploration until the end.
Shells are a valuable material that can improve the sustainability of the aquaculture industry and provide secondary economic benefits. However, an enormous amount of seashell waste is dumped in landfills or the sea every year. This waste piles up in coastal areas and can cause many environmental problems if not handled properly.
Seashells contain 90% calcium carbonate. Through a calcination treatment at a temperature of 850°C, they can be decomposed and turned into a quicklime-cement like material. Verra Febrianti Musriana and Olivia Aspinall were inspired to create an eco-friendly terrazzo-like material from waste shells.
Named Seazzle, the alternative material is made by grinding down shells destined for landfills before combining them with natural, non-toxic binders. Verra used ingredients such as gelatine and glycerine, and cured the samples for seven days. It resulted in variations in the shell fragments’ sizes, textures, and colours.
The raw materials (seashell dust) are provided in bottles with binding materials (glycerin, gelatine, and water). The children can pour these materials into a puzzle box and mix them with any coloring they want. They would then leave the puzzle box to dry before it comes out as different terrazzo stone patterns that they can use to their liking, for example, building blocks.
When the children don’t use their blocks anymore, the terrazzo can be repurposed into a decorative piece or a furniture block.
Seazzle is versatile and a lightweight alternative to not only concrete but also plastic. It can be used to produce several objects while repurposing waste, reducing carbon emissions of the toxic counterpart materials, and keeping the costs low.
All photos are courtesy of Altermatter Participants.