Waste not, want not: designer comes up with bio-plates made from agri-waste
A Polish bio-designer has created a biodegradable material from pulped sugar beet leaves that can be used for tableware, packaging, and other products.
The plant leaves create one of the largest amounts of agricultural waste in Poland, and in the entire EU they amount to 20 million tons every year. But with Sofia Jaśkiewicz’s invention they can be transformed into a myriad of useful objects and then composted, leaving no garbage behind.
The bio-designer is a graduate of the Poznań School of Form. Describing her aspirations, she wrote: “I’m interested in the exploration of new uses for unusual materials and the whole experimental process leading to the consideration of the good of the environment.”
Sonia’s graduation project, Buraki LAB, is a result of research into plastic substitutes that are made of natural resources, and don’t put an additional strain on the environment. As such, an abundant supply of beet leaves proved to be a perfect material. What’s more, the organic plant material is easily accessible and renewable.
leaveBeet pulp, the by-product from sugar refining, was used to feed cattle in the past, but now with the animals’ decreasing number there is an excess of it. By using the pulp and leaves as a raw material and adding other natural materials, Sonia was able to produce a kind of bioplastic. Depending on the methods applied, such as crushing, binding, or pressing, she was able to form beet paper, chipboards and other composites.
“This project aims to highlight the fact that there are many everyday disposable items which are made from durable and imported materials, but they could (and should) be produced from local, non-toxic and biodegradable materials,” Sonia explained. “It is also an attempt to demonstrate the potential of organic waste material which is currently useless.”
The Buraki LAB project evolved into a bigger initiative, Waste LAB, and was chosen as the Blue Drop exhibition finalist. You can learn more about Sonia’s projects here.