• Ankit Singhal

Drink orange juice from 3-D printed biodegradable, bio-plastic cups made of Orange peels

Ever imagined that non-food items could be made of food items. Rethinking and re-imagining the discarded items in a way that we create a circular economy around it. Did you ever ponder what happens to items we discard after their functional use is over? Either they go to landfills, oceans, or get burnt harming the environment in a waste form all the while consuming a lot of energy, natural resources to create those.

People are waking up to the realities of it and are now questioning their behavior, the corporations’ behavior and making them rethink what we think of waste and what we do with it. Since ages, waste was considered something to be dumped and discarded. But rising pollution levels, sea levels, climate change call for looking at it through a different lens. Designers, entrepreneurs and inventors are coming up ways of how we put less burden on the environment and instead of extracting more, utilizing what we already have.

'Feel the peel' installation - this is what turns orange peels to cups

Take oranges! Orange peels are considered to be significant only to contain the pulp and when the fruit was eaten the peel was mostly thrown away as it is rendered useless. Closing the loop on oranges, utilizing orange peels beyond their traditional uses, Italian studio Carlo Ratti Associati in partnership with energy company Eni has worked on a project called ‘Feel the peel’. They have created a juice bar to make a 3-D printed bio plastic cups to drink juice from. This machine is 3.1 meters tall is stacked with oranges on top. When someone orders orange juice, the oranges on top slide down into the juice machine used to make juice and the leftover is moved in the compartment at the bottom. The orange peels are then dried, and ground to make a powder to be mixed with polylactic acid (PLA) to form a bio-plastic material which gets fed into the 3-D printer attached to the juice bar. The 3-D printer makes cups from the said material which is used to fill the orange juice and drink juice from for the next person.

These cups made from orange peels are biodegradable and recyclable so they are recycled to make another cup. In sort of a similar fashion, a German startup is recycling used coffee grounds to make reusable coffee cups. More and more organizations are utilizing waste items to come up with items which are sustainable, biodegradable and environment friendly to manufacture paving way for healthier future.

©2020 by Guardian of Environment.