Lobster shell golf balls

I've always thought it nuts that many cruise ships have golf ball driving ranges where you hit into the open seas. Isn't that, um, littering? Seems that University of Maine Researchers agreed, so they've developed a biodegradable golf ball from lobster shells. From UMaine News:
 News Files 2011 03 Lobster-Golf-Ball2 Though biodegradable golf balls already exist, this is the first to be made with crushed lobster shells with a biodegradable binder and coating, creating value from waste material.

“We’re using a byproduct of the lobster canning industry which is currently miserably underutilized – it ends up in a landfill,” (engineering professor David) Neivandt says. “We’re employing it in a value-added consumer product which hopefully has some cachet in the market.”

And that cachet doesn’t come with a higher price tag. Biodegradable golf balls that are now on the market retail for a little under $1 per ball. The raw materials for the lobster shell balls cost as little as 19 cents per ball.

(BioEngineering undergrad Alex) Caddell, a golfer, says the balls perform similarly to their traditional, white-dimpled counterparts. And they can be used with both drivers and irons.

“The flight properties are amazing,” Caddell says. “It doesn’t fly quite as far as a regular golf ball, but we’re actually getting a similar distance to other biodegradable golf balls.”

"UMaine Researchers Use Lobster Shells to Create Biodegradable Golf Ball" (via Inhabitat)



  1. They should cut out the middle man. Just tee up some lobsters on those cruise ships and hit them straight into the sea.

  2. “Biodegradable golf balls that are now on the market retail for a little under $1 per ball. The raw materials for the lobster shell balls cost as little as 19 cents per ball.”

    Key missing bit: what does it cost to manufacture the balls that now sell for $1?

  3. Golf balls, under $1.

    Having self control and not littering by hitting balls into the water, priceless.

  4. They should’ve made these balls red. Made from cooked lobsters after all plus a person could more easily tell they were the biodegradeable kind.

  5. Man, I have buckets of golf balls laying around.

    The damn things float down the stream all the time, but I’m not of the golf-playing class (I’m of the taxpayer class) so I have no use for them.

    Anybody know anything I can do with 30 gallons of dirty golf balls?

    1. Clean them up and sell them to the local course pro shop. If they are in good shape and name brands, they are worth money.

      OR contact the local middle or high school and donate them to the golf team.

  6. Ah, it’s just a niche market. The land-lubbers will never give up their depleted uranium golf balls: you just can’t get those long drives with anything else.

  7. Little do outsiders know, but everything in Maine (even the land itself) is made from lobsters. The scientists are simply selling normal golfballs from Maine

  8. That should make you feel good about all your excrement getting dumped in with the cute whales getting plugged up with golf balls ala Kramer on Seinfeld.

  9. “Value added”, eh? In real English that means “we jacked the price for no good reason”, right?

  10. Don’t see a negative here except those sort sited and to ignorant to see that this is a good thing…you know take a waste product out of over burdened landfills, replace an existing synthetic product that damages our environment with one that is green and that is at par with current market price…. even Charlie can’t lose it is a WINNING Idea! BRING ON THE LOBSTER BALLS and if you can’t hit them use them for a Hor d’oeuvres

  11. This is an interesting development, particularly as it is something foreshadowed by the predictions of proponents of poly-species mariculture. Unlike conventional mariculture, poly-species mariculture establishes diverse co-supporting ecosystems of species in a manner similar to permaculture farming. Proponents of this have long suggested that, when taken to industrial scales, the waste products of shellfish and crustaceans and the discarded cellulose of processed algae could be recycled on-location into the very packaging used for the food products produced. So here now we have a practical demonstration of just such a material produced from lobster processing waste.

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