Lyon County Environmental Educator
Fore! Lobster shell balls crawl toward the green. Last month we ended our visit with the lobster shell headline and as I was running out of room I said I'd explain next time. So, here's "the rest of the story." It seems that a former engineering student of the University of Maine approached the executive director of the university's nonprofit Lobster Institute with a strange concept - using discarded lobster shells in golf balls.
The director made a prototype in his basement - a ball made from lobster shells and a type of glue - and presented it to the engineering professor. Well, needless to say, the professor thought "it was crazy" considering it wasn't a "simple thing to incorporate something like a lobster shell into a really heavily engineered product like a golf ball." But despite his skepticism, he worked with a bioengineering major who happened to be a golfer and came up with the current version - a central core containing the shell mixture with the binding agent for said core, and the dimpled coating that surrounds it, made of edible and biodegradable polymers.
In case you're wondering what it looks like and if it actually can be used, I'm looking at the picture and looks like a "regular" golf ball and the article says it "performs similar to its non-biodegradable counterpart." For most golfers this probably wouldn't be something that would get used muchbut as the article states "the ball could appeal to amateurs who have a tendency to find water hazards." (That would be me if I attempted to play golf.)
However, there has been a lot of interest in this particular biodegradable golf ball - not only from individuals, small companies and distributers but from some cruise lines as well. Cruise liners used to allow passengers to hit balls into the ocean, but they stopped because of environmental concerns. But, if the new lobster shell ones were used they wouldn't hurt anything - most of it would basically be going back where it came from. OhI guess the ball does begin to crack after a few swings. It's designed to do that so it'll biodegrade quicker underwater.
Before we close here are a few actual headlines that show some unique threats that have been faced by guys that collect garbage and recyclables in the good old U.S.A.: *"Dynamite trigger found in garbage, 4 injured" *"Workers exposed to burning chemicals on garbage truck" *"Grenade found in garbage truck" *"Crew escapes toxic acid fumes from garbage truck" *Burmese python captured on garage truck" Understandable how being a sanitation worker/recycling collector is the seventh most dangerous job in America, right?
I think sanitation workers should be paid higher wages because as far as I can tell just a "normal" day on the job for them warrants it! Just think how unpleasant things would be if there weren't any sanitation workers picking up all of our discards - yuk! Thanks to the guys that drive those trucks around before the "crack of dawn" - makes my world a little cleaner for sure!
Reminder The Hazardous Waste Facility now accepts computers/monitors, TVs, printers, fax machines, VCRs and DVD players. Fees charged are the same as those charged at the landfill. Call our office for details.
Remember to reduce, reuse, recycle and buy recycled! For more info or if your club is interested in a presentation (free) regarding recycling/waste reduction and hazardous waste disposal, call the Lyon County Environmental Office at 532-8210.