In the past months, we couldn’t dine out or have dinner parties, and food consumption was very much reduced to in-house cooking, with one exception – meal kits.
Zero, designed by PriestmanGoode will be presented at the 2021 Salone del Mobile in collaboration with For Wallpaper* Re-Made. The concept encourages consumers to use and return bioplastic containers to takeaway restaurants. The containers are made of cocoa bean shells (a by-product of industrial chocolate production), mushroom mycelium will be used for insulation in the takeaway delivery bag. In contrast, Piñatex – a leather alternative made from pineapple leaves – would be used for the bag lid. The clever Japanese stacking system Bento helps to carry more containers, and you won’t need lids for all of them (less storage, less waste, easy to carry).
But that’s not all. We live in a society that sometimes needs a little extra push. The studio also envisions an incentive system that comes with it. Buyers would pay a small fee or ‘sustainability deposit’ for the packaging when ordering the food, reimbursed once containers are returned to the delivery service. For those returning packaging, there will be a reward scheme translated into discounts on future orders.
According to Wallpaper, these are the materials used for ‘Zero’:
1// Bag Lid
In Piñatex, by Ananas Anam
Ethical entrepreneur and Ananas Anam founder Dr. Carmen Hijosa developed this natural, non-woven substrate made from an existing by-product of pineapple agriculture – pineapple leaf fibers. Piñatex, which has already been used widely in the fashion industry, provides a viable, pliable, breathable, and water-resistant alternative to leather and offers a second stream of income for those working in pineapple agriculture.
2// Handles for food containers and bag
In Lexcell, made with Yulex, by Euphoam
Alternative to environmentally hostile neoprene, Lexcell is a high-performing, plant-based material often used for sports items, from yoga mats to wetsuits. The closed-cell foam – created by purifying natural rubber in a process called Yulex – is laminated in fabrics made from recycled yarn using a water-based adhesive.
3// Bag structure
In Nuatan, by Crafting Plastics Studio
To create its oil-free bioplastic, interdisciplinary designers Crafting Plastics Studio, based between Berlin and Bratislava, collaborated with the Slovak University of Technology and research company Panara. Nuatan, as the material is called, can withstand temperatures of more than 100°C, is highly durable, and can fully biodegrade in industrial compost with no microplastic residue.
4// Food container structure
In Cocoa_001, by Paula Nerlich
Using circular design principles, Berlin-based designer Paula Nerlich demonstrates how food production surplus can be used as a resource for new products. Her Cocoa_001 bioplastic is created with vegan and biodegradable materials, including 50 percent from industrial chocolate production waste, and is water-repellent and washable. For this project, Nerlich has also explored using other food production waste, such as potato peel and avocado seeds.
In Mycelium, by Tŷ Sym
This experimental Cardiff-based design studio seeks responsible solutions to ever-increasing packaging waste. Created using the root system of mushrooms combined with waste such as wood chips, brewers’ spent grain, textiles, and paper, its mycelium is strong, lightweight, 100 percent natural, recyclable, and fully compostable material. For this project, the studio is developing a mycelium alternative to Styrofoam, with thermal properties.
6// Cling film
In Desintegra.me, by Margarita Talep
The Chile-based designer has created an alternative to single-use plastics using agar, a polysaccharide extracted from red algae. Using an all-natural composite including extracts from the skin of discarded fruit and vegetables, the material can be tailored to create both rigid and elastic structures. It takes three to four months to degrade, without the need for industrial composting. Here, it will be used like cling film, pressed between containers to keep food fresh.