Using local invasive species and flora to manufacture collagen based biodegradable plastic tableware

DS 87-1 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 1: Resource Sensitive Design, Design Research Applications and Case Studies, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Willett, Kathryn; Howell, Bryan
Series: ICED
Institution: Brigham Young University, United States of America
Section: Resource Sensitive Design, Design Research Applications and Case Studies
Page(s): 151-158
ISBN: 978-1-904670-89-6
ISSN: 2220-4342


This paper explains how we designed, developed and tested a locally sourced; environmentally sensitive, biodegradable collagen plastic. It discusses the creation of simple moulds for manufacturing tableware and the accompanying workshop proving the viability of both the process and product. Tests were conducted using commercially available collagen materials to understand its attributes. A unique formulation was developed from hides of local agricultural vermin and powders derived from invasive flora. Plaster and concrete moulds were created for the manufacture of simple tableware. A workshop occurred were 12 participants tested the quality of the plastic, the robustness of the moulds, the simplicity of the manufacturing process and the aesthetics of the tableware. Finally, four of the bowls were successfully tested for bio-degradability and fully degraded within 12 weeks of contact with soil. The workshop demonstrated the success of all aspects of the process and how this development process could be used in emerging communities globally to encourage local manufacture of sustainable products.

Keywords: Ecodesign, Sustainability, Social responsibility, Bio plastic, Bio-inspired design / biomimetics


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