Fisheries Areas Network

Good Practice Short Story

Crushed shells and 3D printing

In Olbia, the northern area of Sardinia, the shells of mussels are no longer considered waste. With the help of the FLAG, local students and teachers are using crushed shells to create useful objects of all sorts, from moulds created by 3D printing.
Thanks to such an innovative concept, we’ve made it possible to combine creativity with technology while being respectful of the environment by recovering food waste for new creations. The project has led to prototypes that really give us hope for the future.
Mauro Monaco, FLAG Manager

Every year in Olbia, 3 500 tonnes of fresh mussels are produced – creating thousands of tonnes of leftover shells. Reusing crushed seashells began as a local project that set up a small organisation to recover shells to be reused as a mineral supplement for poultry. As shells are rich in calcium carbonate, they are also used to combat soil acidification in the region. Local high school students and teachers have now taken this concept of reusing shells even further.

Moulds are created with a 3D printer and are then filled with a mixture of resins that include crushed shells of different types and at varying degrees of finesse (from 1 mm to 5 mm). With this process, they have been able to produce prototypes of both large objects such as kitchen ledges or tiles, to smaller ones like jewellery, watch cases or eyeglasses. The FLAG is working with the project promoters on the viability study, business plan, marketing, equipment acquisition etc. to develop the start-up and launch this new business.

The project intends to involve the municipality of Olbia in facilitating the recovery of shells by proposing tax incentives to companies that collect shells for recycling. The FLAG is also working on launching the construction of a small shell crushing plant that would be used for pH correction of the area’s acidic soils.


Expected cost of start-up phase: €100 000

Contact details

FLAG Contacts

Mr. Gian Mario Garrucciu
+39 27113577
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