Food & Drink
More than 900 million tonnes of food is discarded each year, with an estimated 60% of this generated by households.
I’ve been particularly interested in how waste streams can be used to develop new suites of materials, so this is an ongoing series of experiments to see how eggshell and tea leaves (two of our household’s main food waste products) can be harnessed.
Food waste in the UK is still estimated at 4.5 tonnes annually
Image: The Guardian
Elegant compostable and disposable dishes
Anima is a tableware collection made from household food waste such as bones
Image: Kosuke Araki
Nolla is a zero waste restaurant concept that was launched via crowdfunding
Totomoxtle is a veneer crafted from the husks of heirloom native Mexican corn
Image: Fernando Laposse
The initial experiments were based on an existing recipe found on open-source platform Materiom, combining ground eggshell with sodium alginate. This was so that the resulting composite would still be compostable at end-of-life.
I used larger pieces of eggshell as I wanted to preserve their colour and appearance, using natural ingredients such as paprika and spirulina as colouring agents.
Up until this point, I had been using sodium alginate as a binder for its compostability but this was not particularly water-resistant, even with the help of a beeswax coating.
Inspired by the craft of eggshell lacquer, I decided to try out confectioner’s glaze (or food-grade shellac) as a next step, building up multiple layers of colour and material. This turned out to be far more effective and able to hold water for more than 48 hours without falling apart or leaking.
The first shellac experiments looked promising, so I worked on producing some slightly larger tiles and incorporating wood flour as an additional filler. This helped to create a more even surface by filling out some of the cracks and also resulted in an almost ceramic-like appearance.
Bio-Bespoke is a continuous research project and updates will be added periodically.