Crafting bioplastics: Materially reconfiguring everyday food practices
2019-04-22T21:06:24Z (GMT) by
First proclaimed an amazing innovation, now plastic permeates everything—our homes, food, earth, oceans, many living creatures, including ourselves. The use of plastic is problematic, but hard to change. It is culturally situated, commercially embedded, learned, ingrained, often automatic. And, while alternatives are available, they can be hard to find and more expensive than their plastic counterparts. To engage with this issue, we undertook a design-based investigation of DIY bioplastic, edible and hyper-compostable tableware. Our aim was to render such alternatives more accessible. DIY recipes are available online. Yet, often lack vital information to make their use easy. We discovered how to ‘tame’ fabrication of plastic alternatives by adding information about cooking and curing to the recipes. Our experiments suggest that ‘at home’ production of bioplastics and the accompanying re-design of cutlery and table- ware, engender new, more sustainable, eating habits by—literally—designing new ways of eating. They also afford reframing of food ‘waste’ into material resource. We present a hand-made book and mate- rial sample set that make our findings tangible and accessible to design researchers, amateur gastronomists, DIY enthusiasts, and others curious about plastic alternatives. Our findings support a move of scientific practices from the lab to people’s homes.