Jun 25, 2008

Dinnerware & Furniture, Ideas about BioPlastics.

I had another thought today about how to deal with the overcrowding in landfills (as it relates to furniture). The idea came to me as I was eating dinner. I bought food from a place nearby and I noticed that they had that nifty to go box that wasn’t just recyclable, it was biodegrable as well. Basically if my dinnerware ended up in the landfill it would biodegrade within a few months. It's strong stuff, microwave safe, just as good as the normal paper junk. I also noticed that it was pretty strong and I could imagine if you had enough of the material it would be just as strong as plastic.

I found this online which explains about the material:

Bioplastics are a new generation of biodegradable & compostable plastics, derived from renewable raw materials such as starch (e.g. corn, potato, tapioca etc), cellulose, soy protein, lactic acid etc., that are not hazardous in production and decompose back to carbon dioxide, water, biomass etc. in the environment when discarded. Cornstarch is currently the main raw material being used in the manufacture of bioplastic resins. Mater-Bi (main component corn-starch), and PolyActide (PLA) (made from corn-starch as well) are currently the 2 main resins (raw materials), being used today in the production of compostable & biodegradable plastics and are certified for compostability under standards set by international organizations. However, other resins are coming into the market made from potato starch, soybean protein, cellulose etc. Most of these are currently not certified for compostability, though some are for biodegradability. The field of bioplastics is constantly evolving with new materials and technologies being worked on and being brought to market.

So why not use this stuff for furniture? Especially the types of furniture that tends to be thrown away. Maybe things like childrens furniture? Shelving? Maybe its best suited for smaller objects, I don’t know.

here's what the dinnerware looks like
and here's my well-designed couch after being left outside for a few months. Super comfy.


  1. Love the idea of more things being compostible/biodegradable, but I worry about the amount of stuff we now produce that uses food products (like biofuels). We need to still be able to grow enough food! Love you designs, though, especially the chair in the post above, super-useful :)

  2. Have a chat to Stanelco, they make several bioplastics, they are some of the best in the world, and they have more in R&D. Several designers have used their bioplastic

    Designer plates and cutlery here

    A tree here - join the three lines together for the full URL

    Also pictured here, top left

    Another tree project taking shape here

    Stanelco are at ....