Berlin students of design Lobke Beckfeld e Johanna Hehemeyer-Cürten have developed a translucent bag made from fruit peels, which dissolves in water and can be used to fertilize plants when it is no longer needed.
Sonnet 155 it is made up of two different post-industrial waste materials: fruit peels left over from the production of juices and cellulose fibers from a local textile factory.
A bag made of peels
Although it resembles a bag with handles, a kind of shopper, the product has a shelf life closer to a shopping bag.
To put it briefly, it is designed to naturally degrade with wear, well before it can be composted or recycled.
We designed the "fruit leather" bag as an evolution of the normal paper bag but we believe people will like it and will be used and loved until it starts to dissolveJohanna Hehemeyer-Cürten, Weißensee Academy of Art in Berlin
I like it!
Okay, it's a temporary bag, made with fruit peels. But the approach is magnificent: the elegant shape transforms the material into a desirable product, which represents sustainability as a plus, rather than a sacrifice.
Sonnet155's key ingredient is pectin, the gelling agent also used for jams, extracted from the cell walls of waste fruits and used as a natural binder.
The fruit peels are reinforced with cellulose fibers more than five millimeters long, discarded in the industrial textile production process because they are too short to become a fabric.
Combined with warm water, the mixture is left to cure in a mold for five days before being stitched together.
A "living" material
The percentage of cellulose, the length and density of the fibers determine the structure, the level of translucency and the strength of the material.
The natural pigments of the “bag of peels” offer a range of colors from light to dark, from translucent to opaque and from opaque to shimmer and the structure of the mold can make the material opaque or shiny.
The race for recyclable biomaterials: not just peels
Not just bags and peels in the panorama of research on sustainable materials. Among the many cases treated, two very interesting from the fruit. The Italian studio Carlo Ratti Associati has developed a prototype of an orange squeezing machine that transforms waste peels in bioplastic glasses. The engineer Carvey Ehren Maigue turned waste fruit and vegetables into solar panels capable of generating clean energy from ultraviolet light.
No color other than the natural one, in order to easily separate the two ingredients at the end of the cycle.
When too worn to use, the material can be dissolved in warm water and used to create a new bag of the same quality.
Beckfeld and Hehemeyer-Cürten, who are completing their masters at Weißensee Academy of Art in Berlin, are looking for producers to work with to make Sonnet155 commercially available.