Japanese companies TBWA HAKUHODO, Quantum and Koushi Chemical Industry have created the Shellmet, an eco-friendly plastic helmet, made with upcycled scallop shells, that could soon become a prominent fixture across Australian construction sites in the future.
When an abundance of discarded scallop shells quickly became a mountain of waste in Japan’s Sarufutsu Village, local start-up Quantum began assessing what could be done to mitigate the issue. The suburb generates some 35,000 tonnes worth of shells each year, mainly due to demand for seafood. When the shells stopped being exported for reuse in 2021, they began to pile up at an alarming rate, with little space to dispose of them.
The helmet’s design features the ribs and shape of the scallop shell, indicative of the compound’s past life. Eco-friendly plastic was added to the materials in order to create a durable and strengthened helmet. Weighing 400 grams, the design team is of the opinion that the ribbed shell has increased durability in comparison to its stock counterpart.
“From the development of materials to the design, we aimed to create products that are environmentally friendly and sustainable,” says Quantum Chief Designer Shintaro Kadota.
“The lightweight and robust helmet has a simple design, so you can use it for a long time in a variety of situations, from everyday use to work sites.”
Japan’s recent history of natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis and snow damage have seen the country look towards ways of minimising hazards. The Shellmet provides a practical, durable and lightweight device that will shield wearers from any falling hazards.
The team plans to release the Shellmet in March 2023. At this point, the protective gear will be priced at approximately $50 AUD.
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