We The Italians | Italian design: Three Italian young designers contribute to the reduction of waste

Italian design: Three Italian young designers contribute to the reduction of waste

Italian design: Three Italian young designers contribute to the reduction of waste

  • WTI Magazine #110 Dec 15, 2018
  • 583

According to Waste Management World, data from 2016 shows that an average household produces more than a tonne of waste every year; and it is during the Holiday season that we produce the most, creating 30% more waste than usual.

Data from the same year shows that in Italy the production of waste (MSW, municipally solid waste) is 2,23 kg pro capita per day while in the U.S.A. is 2,58 kg: an unimaginable amount if we think about the efforts that are put daily into recycling, by the people and by the institutions. Estimations point out that by 2025 there will be 1,4 billion people living in cities worldwide: the production of MSW will only increase unless alternatives are found, such as ways to reduce the consumption of plastic and the use of alternative biodegradable materials. 

Designers are aware of this environmental crises, and the efforts of finding alternative materials don’t go unnoticed: the aim is to create ecological packaging that will easily decompose, experiments have been conducted using bacterial and yeast, algae and mycelium. 

Italian designers Simone Caronni, Paolo Stefano Gentile and Pietro Gaeli, supported by their Professor Barbara Pollini, have created an alternative packaging for fries, using the peel of the potatoes that otherwise would be discharged. The designers came up with the idea after realising the amount of waste generated by companies that produce fries and also after analysing the waste management of festivals and street food connected to the phenomenon of food trucks. This traditional street food packing has the shortest life spam of all packing.

Called Peel Saver, this packing is made of starch and fibre contained in the peel of the potatoes and obtained after a process of maceration and natural dying. The obtained material is then spread out into circular moulds, then rolled to obtain a conical shape, resembling an ice-scream cone. Contrary to the original thoughts the process does not need any added natural glue such as gelatine or latex as the result material provides the sufficient solidity to be moulded as wanted. Peel Saver is therefore made from 100% recycled potato peel, it is fully biodegradable and reusable as a fertiliser for plants or animal food.

These young designers show us that it is possible to work with nature to find solutions to everyday challenges, that the concept of sustainability must become part of our daily life and what we choose to do as consumers, ultimately this project shows us that there is still much to discover when it comes to discharging the use of traditional material and switching to new recyclable and sustainable concepts. As for now, these young designers don’t have the sufficient funds to support a large scale production, but they are continuing their research and looking for investors to make this sustainable material a reality.

So, when doing your Holiday shopping this year, think about ways you can reduce your daily amount of waste, while buying objects with a beautiful design: it could lead to a new discovery!