Holy Cow! Researcher Experimenting To Make Car Plastics Out of Cow Parts

By Jacob Brown | August 24, 2011
You may find the idea of making interior plastics out of anything but petrochemicals to be utterly ridiculous. But one researcher is putting bovine on the line as the future key ingredient of interior materials. Associate professor David Bressler in the Food and Nutritional Science department at the University of Alberta’s agriculture school is currently researching a process to give new life to unusable cow carcasses. With cattle aged 30 months or older, the proteins in their makeup are thought to be stable enough to be made into car parts such as dashboards and interior door panels. That’s right, there will be no zeal of veal in your car. “The plastic industry is under pressure to increase the renewable content in its products,” he said in an interview with Ward’s Auto.
After a 2003 outbreak of Mad Cow Disease that devastated Canada’s economy, leaving few heifers safe for hamburgers, Bressler began experimenting with the tainted meat to make it into sustainable materials that farmers could still sell. Back then, most cattle had to be put down, and their meat went to waste because of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy virus. Now, the plastics he created are in testing with The Woodbridge Group, an Ontario-based car-parts maker. With Bressler’s new methods turning unusable cattle parts into reusable materials, the scientist hopes to create bio-friendly materials and cut down on the waste found in landfills. While you may think that the soft Corinthian leather in your Chrysler Cordoba might be the only thing that has ever once made mooing noises in your car, consider that the next time you buy a vehicle. It may be a lot more organic than you ever thought possible. Source: Ward’s Auto, Photo courtesy of Honda