Cups made from coffee grounds, cards made from fabric waste… Smart designs that combat waste from around the world.
Today, smart design means designs that are both practical and aesthetic and make the best use of the world’s depleting resources. It may sound utopian or hard to achieve at first, but this type of design will be an essential part of our lives in the future. Here are some examples of smart designs from around the world.
Honey Fabric: Honey Bee Wrap
Honey Bee Wrap is a marvellous alternative to cling film and aluminium foil. It’s made with cotton fabric soaked in beeswax, jojoba oil, coconut and resin. The result is an airtight fabric that sticks to the surface it covers. It’s a hard material until warmed up in your hands, so it isn’t sticky. It also has antibacterial properties. You can warm it in your hands, shape it and cover your food or any other container. If you take good care of it, you can use it for a year. It has many varieties in retro styles and different colours. It also has a slight, sweet honey smell. honeybeewrap.com.au
Cups made from coffee grounds: Kaffeeform
The more coffee we drink, the more coffee grounds we have. Did you know that you can produce fertilisers and even fuel from coffee beans and grounds? What about common household items like the coffee cup? We discovered Kaffeeform in Berlin. It’s a coffee cup that isn’t made from porcelain or glass but is entirely made from recycled coffee grounds. It took Kaffeeform’s designer Julian Lechner four years to develop the technology he used to compress grounds to make a cup. One Kaffeeform cup is made from the grounds of six cups of espresso. This light, compact and dark-coloured coffee cup is sold with a saucer and you can even put it in the dishwasher. This is what we call recycling! kaffeeform.com
Mushroom Lamps: MushLume Lighting
The website says it is a lamp “grown from mushrooms” Brooklyn-based Danielle Trofe, known for her eco-conscious, state-of-the-art designs, developed MushLume Lighting from mushroom mycelium and agricultural waste, which indeed grows by itself! Mushroom what? Mycelium is the underground part of a mushroom consisting of tiny veins. Mycelium is nature’s glue and quickly renews itself. These lamps made from mushrooms are organic, biodegradable and highly aesthetic, as well. The latest model “The Grow-It-Yourself Lamp” is designed for people who want to “grow” their own lamp at home. danielletrofe.com
Fabric business cards: MOO Print
What if we told you that it’s possible to not cut down trees and to even use waste from other industries to produce paper? MOO Print is a printing company that produces business cards, postcards and stickers. They use a completely new technology for one of their business card designs. The paper they use isn’t made from trees but from t-shirt waste. Paper manufactured from the pieces of unused fabric in factories is noteworthy for its characteristic texture, durability and lightness. Trees are saved and pieces of fabric that would otherwise go to waste are used. moo.com
Paper bowls: Wola Nani
We were fascinated by the colours and striking patterns from the moment we first saw these bowls. It’s impossible not to be impressed by the story behind them. Wola Nani is an association founded to help people South African with AIDS return to a productive life. It isn’t easy for AIDS patients to find jobs and because it hits low-income women the most, thousands of families in the country need help. Together with Wola Nani, they produce simple but valuable household goods. This allows them to generate income and keep up with life. The most remarkable of all the Wola Nani products are the paper-mâché bowls made from old magazine pages, covered with vibrant African patterns. wolanani.co.za
Cemre Narin is a freelance food writer and cook based in Istanbul, and has been the culinary and restaurant editor of Vogue Turkey since 2010. A former clinical psychologist, lived and worked in the US and Jordan. Co-writer of the cookbook: Icindekiler (Ingredients), Academy Chair at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, co-creator of the international food conference YEDI (Seven).