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Av Nikolay Baleriano - 2 april 2011 20:19

They're not exactly the environmental scourge of our time, but tens of thousands of golf balls made from the petrochemicals Surlyn or urethane end up in rivers, forests, lakes and oceans every year, and there they will stay for hundreds of years.

A golf ball made from Lobster shells is seen in this handout photo from the University of Maine.
University of Maine
A University of Maine professor and student teamed up to make eco-friendly golf balls, like this one, from lobster shells.

A professor-student team has tackled the problem of eco-unfriendly golf balls by making them out of lobster shells.

University of Maine professor David Neivandt and golfer and undergrad Alex Caddell have created a ball made from the byproduct of the lobster-canning industry, TV station WMTW reported.

The lobster golf balls solve two environmental problems, actually. "We're using a byproduct of the lobster-canning industry, which is currently miserably underutilized -- it ends up in a landfill," Neivandt said.

Neivandt and Caddell see the golf balls as particularly useful on cruise ships. They can be used with both drivers and irons, Caddell told WMTW.

Biodegradable golf balls currently on the market sell for about $1 a ball retail; the raw materials for the lobster shell balls cost as little as 19 cents.

The University of Maine has filed a provisional patent for the lobster shell recipe, which can also be used to make things such as planters and surveying stakes that decompose.

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Av Nikolay Baleriano - 2 april 2011 20:03

Prom season is a time of slow dances, big corsages and even bigger updos. It's also the season for many girls to spend an exorbitant amount of money -- $500 or more to buy a dress, along with shoes, manicures, pedicures and jewelry.

Becca's Closet
Courtesy Casey Carignan
Kristin Terry, left, teacher at Baraboo High School in Wisconsin; Casey Carignan, founder of the local chapter of Becca's Closet; and Casey Kothbauer, student coordinator, show off some donated dresses.

It's an expensive proposition, and for those whose families may already be struggling financially, it can make for tough choices.

Dress drives across the country encourage girls to donate gently used formal dresses for those who can't afford to purchase new ones. One such dress drive in Baraboo, Wisc., is earning some well-deserved recognition.

In 2009, as a senior at Baraboo High School, Casey Carignan, along with teacher Kristin Terry, started a local chapter of Becca's Closet, a nationwide organization that collects and donates prom dresses founded by Florida high school student Rebecca Kirtman before her death in a car accident.

Carignan's chapter recently won a $1,500 grant from another national dress drive, Donate My Dress, and Carignan, who is now a freshman at University of Wisconsin-Platteville, received the National Lifetime Remarkable Women Award from the Lifetime television network. Her work will be featured in a 30-second segment on the channel tonight.

Carignan is the latest recipient of the National Lifetime Remarkable Women Award, joining a club that includes Michelle Obama and Queen Latifah.

"I took buying a prom dress for granted," Carignan told AOL News. "Families shouldn't have to tell their daughters, 'Sorry, we can't afford this.' It's the one night when you can feel like a princess."

The dress drives serve another purpose: Reusing a dress is earth-friendly.

"Go green and recycle your dress," she said. "Allow a girl to have the same experience you did in that dress."

To solicit dress donations from the community, she placed an ad in the local paper. She was deluged with calls. "I was running everywhere picking up dresses," she said. "We now have 250 dresses -- both cocktail and prom dresses."

Hilary Stone was one enthusiastic donor. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Clair student had several dresses taking up space in her closet. "I liked them a lot, but I was never going to wear them again," she said. "I hope someone gets to use one of my dresses and has a really nice time."

Local hair salons also pitched in, donating gift certificates for free updos, and the national company Bumpits donated 360 boxes of hair clips.

Sponsored Links

The group is looking to open a store where girls can go to try on dresses and have a "true shopping experience," Carignan told AOL News.

For now, a local business has allowed the organization to use its back room as a temporary store. Baraboo High School's prom is coming up in May, and girls make appointments to come into the store and pick out a dress. So far, Carignan and her colleagues have given away 16 dresses.

Despite all the success and accolades, Carignan seems to have already found her reward in the faces of the girls who try on the dresses she helps collect. "Just to see their smile, it's amazing."

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