V4 BeyondPlastic – [WORKSPACE]
Hello! I’ve been working with @dasjannis on developing the Beyond Plastic workspace. We want this to be a space where makers can rely on local food waste streams to create and experiment with biomaterials, create products using a heat press and aluminum molds, and/or host workshops. We’re conceptualizing a collection, storage and pressing system that enables users to gather local food waste from both individual households as well as restaurants and cafes. We want to share what we’ve done so far and would love feedback from anyone who might have some ideas on how to improve this system. We’ve made some decisions based on resources available to us here in Eindhoven, but our goal is to create a concept for a workspace that could be easily recreated by anyone, anywhere. This being said, we’d love to hear new ideas or alternative solutions for what we’ve done so far.
1. Collection Vessels
This system would rely on participation from local people and food businesses. We decided on using glass jars as the main collection vessels to be dropped off and picked up by those who are keen to contribute. Many restaurants order their ingredients in glass jars and accumulate a decent amount to recycle or reuse. We tried about a dozen places until we found a few that were willing to save some jars for us in the coming days/weeks.
Using two jar sizes allow for controlled intervals between pick up and drop off in order to prevent organic matter from molding before entering the workspace. We sought smaller jars for household collection and medium jars for food businesses that produce greater quantities of waste regularly. These larger jars often contain pickled foods, olives, sundried tomatoes, etc. They were a bit harder to come by, but once we found some restaurants that agreed to save some for us, we had enough after a couple of weeks. The largest containers are for bulk storage of materials that a workspace may be used regularly and in large amounts.
2. Drop-Off Point
The Drop-Off point is a physical structure that holds the jars and can be placed in a public space near the workspace. Some jars could have labels for specific materials a workspace would need/seek. People who live in the community could take a jar labeled with common specific food waste products, collect these materials at home and drop it off again once full. When dropped off, participating community members could easily swap it for a fresh empty one to continue collection.
In order to prevent bio-scraps from molding, it would be important to choose the right size, but this is something that could be felt out once a workspace is up and running. The location of the drop-off point could vary from workspace to workspace: It could perhaps be on a neighborhood corner, placed in a busy square or next to the subway stop, or other places that get a lot of foot traffic or set up at weekly markets. This is something we haven’t yet tested, so we would love to hear any ideas on making this a practical drop-off point from the user’s end.
Most collected food waste coming in would probably still retain a bit of moisture. Materials need to be completely dry before they can be pulverized in preparation for pressing, so the next step would be spreading the scraps out in a dehydrator. Jannis and Zsofie made one here. It has a small heating element on the bottom, a small fan that circulates air from the top, and 10 racks.
4. Blending & Storage
Once the bio-scraps have been dried out, they can be thrown into a blender to prepare for pressing as well as reducing in volume (we bought a blender on Marktplaats for 12 euros). The smaller jars are intended to hold less frequently used materials and experiment materials. The medium jars contain more frequently used materials in the workspace, and the largest containers, as mentioned above, are for storing bulk materials.
Once materials are pulverized they are ready for heat pressing!!! We left some space beside the heat-pressing station for handling hot moulds, cleaning moulds, and packing biomaterial products.
thanks for sharing. after having visited a few workspaces/artisanal productions in this regard I also recon here the more weak point is collection and publishing of research data, subject to collaborative community efforts for further refinement of the process. Apparently there is an increase of competence joining PP worldwide but blocked by lacking tools to interact.
Other than that; are there open tasks or machines missing for this process ? I still have a project untouched in the drawer; called the food shredder from plastic. I am happy to pull this one out; thanks to s2019’s efforts there is light 🙂
good work and thanks again.
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