Food waste: design makes them great objects

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People browsing design stores may find it hard to imagine that the products on display, with beautiful leather-like patterns, are made from recycled fruit and food waste left in the trash.

Believe it or not, it is possible! Recently, an analysis of ReFED have shown that improved packaging design can eliminate more than one million tons of food waste and six million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Clearly, there is an incredible opportunity in product design to reduce food waste.

Some designers are already one step ahead and proving that stunning objects can be produced in an environmentally friendly way.

Overview of 6 products made from food waste and usable on a daily basis.

1. Kosuki Araki Dishes

inhabitant of tokyo Kosuki Araki proposed a new way to recycle food waste.

Charred food scraps and “animal glue”, obtained by boiling bones and meat skin, are made into elegant cups, bowls and vases.

Skins, peels, eggshells, bones, rotten fruits and vegetables, all are useful in the conception process.

Kosuki uses his own household food scraps as his working material, and in two years he managed to recycle 315 kilograms of food.

Kosuki Araki _ 5 products made from food scraps
Kosuki Araki

The designer coats the finished pieces with traditional Japanese black lacquer.

His first work, the Anima collection, was presented as part of the Food Revolution 5.0 Design for the Society of Tomorrow exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Berlin.

2. Barbara Gollackner Kitchenware

Next on our list is the work of the Austrian design studio Barbara Gollackner.

During Vienna Design Week, the studio presented its impressive Wasteware collection.

For this series, the designers turned to an Austrian restaurateur and chef, and the collaboration resulted in plates, cups and cutlery made from industrial and household food waste.

Barbara Golackner _ 5 products made from food waste
Barbara Golackner

According to the studio team, the inspiration for the collection came from startling statistics which showed that 90 million tons of food are thrown away each year in Europe alone.

For their collection, organic waste was recycled and then printed on a 3D printer.

All products have simple shapes and minimalist designs and can be used multiple times.

3. Handbag by ScobyTec

Can you imagine your favorite leather bag made from food scraps?

This may be the future! Cellulose is a strong, structural plant material that can be used in textiles, which is why some alternatives to leather are now made from it.

Isolated cellulose fibers can be felted and combined with materials to produce a flexible material.

The perfect example is provided by ScobyTeca German bio-manufacturing research company, which has developed an alternative to vegan leather.

Tip – it contains bacterial cellulose! The company used it to create a simple but practical handbag.

ScobyTec

ScobyTec consists of an international research team in biology, software development, industrial design and apparel technology.

The company develops sustainable bacterial cellulose materials to replace wood-based leather, cotton and viscose.

4. Chairs by Clémence Grouin Rigaux

Perhaps one of the most unexpected product designs on our list is that of Clemence Grouin Rigauxwhich uses leftover meat to create a resin-like material that can be used for furniture and home accessories.

Clemence Rigaux

The designer makes full use of waste from the slaughterhouse industry as animal remains are a constant and large waste stream.

Blood, bones, grease, skin, feathers, animal remains and urine all cause huge environmental problems.

They overwhelm the natural ecosystems of our lands, rivers and oceans.

Disposal of animal waste is expensive, which is why many slaughterhouses dispose of their waste in sewers, landfills or agricultural land.

However, this does not solve the environmental threat because even when incinerated, this waste releases dangerous heavy metals into the atmosphere, which are extremely harmful to air quality and human health.

Taking this waste and turning it into functional everyday objects reduces the mountain of waste that society produces daily while changing people’s perceptions.

Waste can be a valuable commodity if you know how to use it!

5. Mycelium Leather

The fashion and product design industry is looking for something to replace animal skin and its synthetic imitations, so a number of brands are banking on an alternative made from mushroom mycelium. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of hype around the plant-based leather alternative, but only a few products are available for purchase.

However, since July, Stella McCartney and Bolt Threads sell the first luxury mushroom leather bag.

Stella McCartney _ 5 products made from food waste
Stella McCartney

6. Furniture by Mari Koppanen

Another magnificent example is the work of the furniture designer Mari Koppanen, who created a stunning collection of seats wrapped in tinder leaves made from the fruit of the mushroom.

Mari Koppanen

Designers have been experimenting with environmentally friendly materials for many years.

The good news is that renewable, recyclable, reusable and biodegradable materials are gaining prominence every year.

Food waste is a problem all over the world, but smart product design is a great way to use up at least some of it.

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Rozella J. Cook