Innovation That Matters

Plant-based packaging

Ecological packaging material made from a plant

Architecture & Design

A design graduate is using a plant called soft rush to create furniture and packaging material.

At Springwise we feature many new materials which are plant-based and environmentally friendly. For example, a compostable plant-based bottle made by a French packaging company is fully biodegradable and recyclable. Another example is a US company using plant-based materials to create sustainable shoe soles. Now, Don Kwaning, a graduate at Design Academy Eindhoven, is using the pith of soft rush to create an ecological packaging material.

Soft rush is a fast growing weed found in wetland habitats. As part of his project – Medulla – Kwaning collected soft rush and separated the piths from the plant fibres. After researching the plant and experimenting with potential applications, Kwaning began using the plant fibres to make other materials. These include paper, rope, none-wovens, corrugated cardboard and textiles. In addition, he discovered that the pith of the plant could be transformed into a foam material.

As the piths are lightweight, insulating and shock-resistant, Kwaning found that they were suitable to use for ecological packaging material. The packaging can be created as compressed foamblocks or tangled noodle strings. Moreover, as no additives are required to bond the foam material, the pith is also suitable to be used in furniture production.




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