What happens (or can happen) with waste in product making processes? To work towards a zero waste future all creative solutions are welcome. Here are a few examples of waste with hidden potential and qualities.
Algae is a popular decomposable substitute for plastic and there have been many experiments to achieve a substance suitable for production. Central Saint Martins graduate Scarlett Yang created a dress made of an algae and silk protein mix that changes shape depending on temperature, environment and humidity. When used, it can get back from where it came from: the ocean, where it will decompose within 24 hours. The dress may not be practical, but it is certainly an A-example of low-waste products.
Speaking of the ocean, it’s impossible to not bring up last year's James Dyson Award International-winner and MarinaTex creator Lucy Hughes. A report from the UN’s food and agriculture organisation found out that 50 million tonnes of fish is wasted annually. MarinaTex is a plastic substitute made entirely of this fish waste. Unlike the algae dress above, this substance is more suitable for production and can be used in grocery packaging, both as single use and reusable bags. The material degrades in soil for under six weeks.
The wine making process produces very much waste. Fortunately the waste can be used for other purposes. ‘Vegea’ works in collaboration with Italian wineries and has developed a process for the valorisation of wine waste. The grapes can be turned into vegan friendly and non-toxic faux leather. In other wineries the mineral-rich waste turns into cosmetic and health products.
It’s not only grapes that carries hidden qualities. Every year 13 million tons of waste is produced from the pineapple agriculture industry which the company Piñatex turns into textile. The waste is inedible pineapple plant leaves. The non-woven textile can be used as faux leather or PVC textiles.
Food waste has been one of the biggest crooks for as long as the conversation has been active. The waste can be turned into biogas for energy, natural fertiliser for soil and more. However this type of waste is not a permanent bi-product of a particular production-process, it’s just food that’s not eaten, making it even more unnecessary. This waste can be prevented by systematic thinking in our society, and of course, by each of our own actions. What if we just eliminated the waste to begin with? Find methods that suits you at Love Food Hate Waste.
Researching materials is a never-ending process for us at Zenit Design. With every single project comes the need to source, explore and discover (or rediscover) materials to design a unique and sustainable result suitable for the clients needs, users and society. This kind of systems thinking enables customisation of every aspect, regarding whether the product needs to manage tough environments such as temperature, constant wear etc, or be designed for easy disassembly before recycling and material sorting. The aspects are limitless and we’re passionate about digging deeper into the possibilities of sustainable materials. It’s a part of our everyday lives and our goal towards a circular economy.