Shellmet, a hard hat constructed from discarded scallop shells and recycled plastic, was conceived by Tokyo advertising agency TBWA Hakuhodo and plastics manufacturer Koushi Chemical Industry Co. According to Shellmet’s inventors, the device was developed as protective headgear for the fishing community in Japan’s Sarufutsu hamlet, where over 40,000 tonnes of scallop shells go to waste each year.
“Scallops are the most commonly eaten shellfish by Japanese people, and it is also the shellfish that results in the most amount of waste,” TBWAHakuhodo said. “We asked ourselves, what if we could turn these scallop shells into a new resource instead of waste?”
Scallops are the most valuable export. Sarufutsu Village is one of Japan’s major scallop-producing places, having earned the top prize for scallop catch on multiple occasions. However, during the scallop processing, it generates around 40,000 metric tonnes of shells as marine debris each year.
The environmental consequence of storing scallops on the ground and finding a location to deposit them has turned into a social issue for the local community. Koushi Chemical Industry concentrated on the fact that the main constituent of scallop shells is calcium carbonate to solve the problem of the village’s surplus scallop shells and came up with the notion that they could be used as a raw material for an entirely new material.
Shellstic is made by boiling and sterilizing gathered shells, which are then coarsely crushed, combined with plastic, and placed in a helmet mold. Koushi Chemical Industry Co. colored the material with mineral and synthetic colors, which are available in sunset pink, ocean blue, sand cream, coral white, and deep black.
Shellmet materials can be reused as building materials or repurposed to make another helmet. According to its designers, the helmet is inspired by biomimicry, a design method in which humans adopt natural systems to address issues.