A group of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a new type of plastic packaging derived from tree fibres and crab shells. The packaging which is used to keep food fresh is constructed by spraying multiple layers of chitin, a primary component of crab shells, and tree fibres together. Once thoroughly dried, the material is flexible, robust, transparent and compostable which means it keeps food fresher for longer.

The researchers stated that cellulose, which comes from plants, is the planet’s most common natural biopolymer, followed next by chitin, which is found in shellfish, insects and fungi. The environmentally friendly packaging which is meant to prevent oxygen from passing through to preserve foods is an improvement on traditional plastics due to its biodegradable properties and potential to double the shelf life of foods.