From the French Basque Country, Scale has set itself the mission of conceiving an ocean-friendly material, biodegradable and recyclable, derived from renewable resources of marine origin. Their flagship product is called SCALITE® and is a panel of a composite material made from fish scales. Featuring the same compactness, at least to the eye, as any ceramic coating, it has the advantage of not depending on an energy-intensive production process and not releasing potentially harmful volatile organic substances. In business since 2018, Scale began production in 2022, and aims to give a new life in 2023 to 23 tons of scales, all brought from sustainable fishing or aquaculture production cycles.
A similar approach is adopted by Ostrea, another small French company based in Brittany. It specializes in manufacturing cladding materials for buildings made from oyster shells and seashells. Closely resembling any other grit with a terrazzo finish, their tiles glitter, the effect of the mother-of-pearl contained in the recycled shells. They make up 65% of the whole, together with a mineral matrix and without the addition of elements derived from petroleum. The founders, a group of four oyster farmers, launched this parallel activity after becoming aware of the sector’s environmental impact. In France alone, 250,000 tons of oysters and seashells are incinerated every year, generating a significant economic and ecological cost for the whole community. If recovered, they could help differentiate productive activities on the coast, so making for more attractive job opportunities in areas where the staples are still fishing and tourism.