Innovation That Matters

3D printing

3D printing from algae bioplastic eliminates waste


A Dutch design studio is experimenting with 3D printing homewares made from a mix of mycelium fungi and other organic waste products.

Studio Eric Klarenbeek has found a method for turning industrial organic waste products such as potato starch and cocoa husks into biodegradable furniture and home accessories. The studio grows mycelium fungi for use as a coloring and binding agent that holds the bioplastics together once they are printed.

Inspired by the challenge of creating a zero-waste product lifecycle, the studio team is creating a website that will make their designs freely available. Longer term, the company’s goal is to create a network of 3D bakeries. With the maker movement continuing to gain momentum, 3D bakeries will provide makers with dedicated spaces for printing as well as allow for bespoke, on-demand production for a more sustainable business model. Additionally, by growing and printing with algae, the studio is able to produce pieces that are even better than carbon neutral. They are carbon negative because the fungi lives by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Other recent uses for mycelium fungi include creating a carbon-neutral, animal free leather and as a powder that blocks bitter receptors on the tongue, making food taste better, thus reducing the need to add sugar. What would help bioplastics scale for ubiquitous use within the home?




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