Biodegradable Food Packaging
This project is about building links across disciplines to bring together expertise, stimulate debate and promote the power of design and its role in society. The outcome should react to the problems and threats of our society and our relationship to food. With a global food waste of approximately 1.3b tonnes and 15 m tonnes of food related plastic waste a year it is our responsibility as designers to solve this massive problem by new material approaches.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
POC: is a new seegras-based food packaging material which was designed to extend the durability of food, reduce foodwaste and reduce plastic packaging waste. The material is made from sea grass fiber and a binder from the extract of the fiber. Due to the antibacterial properties of the sea grass, a bio-composite can be produced, which is not only easily integrated into the industrial process, but also makes food longer lasting and the packaging completely biodegradable.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The material has been tested in various independent materials labs and has good antibacterial and structural properties. In this way, this material can replace plastic food packaging without polluting the environment.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in September 2016 at the Royal College of Art in London. Project partners: Tesco Labs & Microsoft Research Center
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The sea grass fiber is a waste product of the ocean and can be collected on the beaches of the Mediterranean. Subsequently, the binder is extracted from the fiber and mixed with intact fibers. The mass is pressed into a metal mold and baked at 180 ° until it is completely dried.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
The shaping is based on already existing forms of food packaging, so that food producers can quickly and inexpensively change the plastic materials against POC: without changing to new machines.
Packaging, Biodegradable Materials, Innovative Materials, Food Packaging, Circular Economy
A detailed material research has been conducted, which includes the research on sea grass of the last 10 years. Different plants were examined for their contents and tested if they were suitable for a bio-composite. To this end, experts from the business sector and from universities were consulted, which provided in-depth specialist knowledge. After completion of the material, potential users were surveyed for quality in a quantitative survey.
The main obstacle to the project would be the search for a suitable binder that holds the fiber together and does not simultaneously remove its excellent properties. Especially the extraction process and the first tests of controlled shaping were particularly difficult.
TEAM MEMBERS (1) :
All Images by Felix Pöttinger
Copyrights belong to Felix Pöttinger, 2017