As global warming turns up the heat on the world stage, many people are working on different options and solutions to contribute to further eco-friendly practices. We've heard of the "use and throw" and "use and recycle" concept, how about "use and eat"? Although it seems shocking, many companies are experimenting with edible packaging materials as an alternative to the non-biodegradable plastic materials. The idea is encouraging disposability and (literally) encouraging consumption. It is also an alternative to recycling, by simply do something we’ve been doing since birth – eat.
Of course we don't always have to literally consume these materials but they are at least biodegradable without needing to be washed.
Here, I've compiled a few examples of edible products. What do you think, would you eat them?
Edible Desk Lamp
Bite Me Desk Lamp is designed by Victor Vetterlein, a New York based designer. The desk lamp is made from edible bio-plastic created from vegetable glycerin, purified water, food coloring, natural flavoring, and agar (a vegetable based gelatin made from sea algae), can either be safely eaten or tossed into the compost at the end of its useful life.
This eco-friendly desk lamp gained inspiration from the book Green Plastics - an Introduction to the New Science of Biodegradable Plastics by E.S. Stevens, a professor of chemistry at NY State University. Available in four organic extract flavors: orange, cherry, blueberry, and apple, it comes with an LED light-source attached to a clear plastic adhesive strip where the electrical power is provided.
To prepare it for consumption, it is important to clean the frame with organic soap and submerged in purified water for an hour to soften up. Its LED lighting adhesive strip, which lists the ingredients, obviously has to be removed from the lamp and keep for re-use in the future. If eating the edible lamps doesn't start your digestive juices flowing, it can be thrown to your garden as compost.
Do you chew on the end of your pen while you're thinking? Dutch designer and a student at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Dave Hakkens, created a new type of pen that make it ok to chew on them.
He originally set out to create a chewable pen that wouldn’t get dirty, but then posited to the fact that 90% of the pens get thrown away once the ink's run out, and so that led him to create a pen almost completely edible with the exception of the pen tip. The edible pen concept came to his mind when he noticed that we only actually use the ink, while the rest of the plastic cover is just there as a cover.
The entire body of the pen is made out of candy that does not stick or melt when it's in your hand with the same texture as candy bracelets. When the ink runs out, you can finish up the candy, and either throw the bits away or insert your reusable ballpoint for an ink refill in a different candy flavor pen.
An Italian entrepreneur, Tiziano Vicentini, created an edible plate which he calls Pappami (translate- “eat me”). Edible plates aren't particularly new, in many dishes from different countries, these edible plates already exist. For instance, in Turkey, a number of soup is served in a bread bowl. Nonetheless, Vicentini’s Pappami is a pretty inventive take on the concept to popularize the idea of edible plates on a mass scale.
Pappami is made with a kind of a bread dough, that firm enough to withstand soggy soups and sauces and can be keep for more than 6 months and is microwaveable and stays warm. The dish is shaped like a flower with an outer rim of “petals” that is designed to be torn off and eaten as a cracker or dipping bread, which are actually similar to normal crackers. It is in large part edible and 100% bio-degradable, although the central part is not intended to be eaten, it is usable for animal feed or compost.
Sure, there are plenty of candles that smells like food, but how about the one that smells like food, taste like food, and is actually food too? Culinary designer, Stéphane Bureaux, implemented this idea with her creation of Molten Lava Chocolate Candle that not only smell delicious, they taste delicious too. The candle is not wax but chocolate. Place it in a center of a cake, light it, and instead of getting the unflavoured candle wax dripping all over, this one create a delicious lava of melted chocolate. As an alternative, you can use it for filling the inside of a chocolate cake too. What a treat!
Edible Drinking Glass
Here's an idea, how about a drinking glass you don't throw away, don't recycle, but eat. NYC-based design consultancy, The Way We See The World has created Jelloware colouful edible glasses as the result of the 2nd annual Jell-O Mold Competition in Brooklyn, New York. These squishy drinking glasses is made from biodegradable agar agar ingredients, making it vegan and come in several flavours, such as lemon-basil, ginger-mint, or rosemary-beet that are specifically designed to compliment a corresponding spesific drink. Imagine sipping a mojito out of a lemon-basil flavor cup you can bite right into! Incase you don't fancy to eat them, these cups are also designed to be tossed on the ground where the seaweed-extract they're made from will biodegrade and helps nurture the growth of grasses and plants.
Curious for plenty more edible innovation products?
Hang around for the part 2.