A shell-shaped helmet made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells.

All images © Quantum and TBWAHakuhodo

The village of Sarufutsu in Hokkaido, Japan, is known for bringing in some of the country’s biggest hauls of scallops. Unfortunately, when the bivalves are processed for the food industry, they generate about 40,000 tons of discarded shells annually. The village teamed up with product design startup Quantum and plastics manufacturer Koushi to tackle the ever-mounting quantities in local landfills. Along came Hotamet—a portmanteau of “hotate” (which means scallop) and “helmet”—alternatively known as Shellmet. The marine-inspired, eco-friendly safety accessory incorporates discarded, crushed scallop shells into a protective covering.

A main component of seashells is calcium carbonate, a compound also found in hard materials like eggshells, pearls, and some rocks and minerals. Combined with recycled plastic, the substance produces a tough material that Quantum and Koushi could form into headgear. “Based on the idea of biomimicry, Shellmet incorporates a special rib structure in its design that mimics the structure of scallops, which are part of the material. As a result, we have achieved a strength approximately 33 percent greater than normal,” Quantum says.

Originally designed as a protective hat for the fishing community, Shellmet will also come in handy when Japan mandates that all bicyclists must wear protective headgear starting in April this year. You can find more information on the company’s website. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

A row of shell-shaped helmets made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells.

A collection of shell-shaped helmets made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells, photographed on a beach.

A mound of scallop shells.

A detail of a shell-shaped helmet made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells.

A shell-shaped helmet made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells.

A group of three fishermen wearing shell-shaped helmets made from recycled plastics and discarded scallop shells.

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Discarded Scallop Shells Combine with Recycled Plastics in the Waste-Reducing ‘Shellmet’ appeared first on Colossal.

©