Mussel Shells Zebra Glass
Photo credit: DesignBoom
Design students from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan wanted to eliminate two invasive species of mussels without harming the environment. So, they decided to transform zebra and quagga mussel shells, which can be found in the Great Lakes, into Zebra Glass. They are a rich source of calcium carbonate and colorant, so turning them into soda lime glass was not a problem at all.

They first heat the mussels to break the shells down, and the vibrant ‘copper blue’ colors is from the high copper content of Lake Michigan. Zebra mussels are typically the size of a fingernail, but can grow to a maximum length of nearly 2-inches, while the quagga is slightly larger. Why are they invasive? Well, since these mussels are ultra efficient water filterers, they remove substantial amounts of phytoplankton and suspended particulate from the water, thus decreasing the food source for zooplankton.

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