No doubt, using disposable tableware is utterly convenient. But it is also short lived and an absolute mess for the environment. Just take a look at your trash can after a party. Mounds of disposable paper and plastic bags and containers and you will too feel bad for the environment. We know that plastic or many other materials that disposable tableware is made of take months and even years to degrade, leaking harmful chemicals in the process.
Contemplating upon the environmental hazard disposable are, many environment-caring individuals and companies have come up with the idea of edible tableware. Chefs have been toying around with this idea for years, however, only in the last couple of years we have found something substantial.
Loliware is the world’s first truly biodegradable cup. In fact, the US-based company promotes it as a ‘biodegredible’ product meaning both biodegradable as well as edible. The company was founded by Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker who took almost three years experimenting in labs to perfect their recipe for this edible cup. The cup is vegan and is made out of agar, a seaweed-based gel. As Chelsea puts it, the inspiration for the cup was the consequences that environment suffers at the hands of disposable tableware, “Every year half a billion disposable cups into the landfills that will never biodegrade. Loliware is truly a replacement for plastic cup.”
Edible Crockery from Japan
Japan is seeing a lot of activity on the edible tableware front. The Japanese company Marushige Seika K.K. was edible ice-cream crusts. Company’s senior managing director Katsuhiko Sakakibara took the concept one step further and today the company is making its edible plate series popularly known as e-tray series. Sakakibara was too inspired from the environment, “When I go to food festivals, I see bins filled with garbage, and I wondered if our manufacturing technology could do something to change it. So we decided to go beyond ice cream cones and to develop plates that are edible.”
Marushige’s ice-cream crusts are wheat-based, however they didn’t hold well upon being wet. The company then tried using raw shrimp mixed into a starch batter and baked under high pressure. They are also developing the flavors of the plates so that they can be go well with different kind of food items.
WikiPearl is a one of kind edible tableware packaging material. Around two years ago, Harvard professor and food-technology connoisseur David Edwards developed a form of edible packaging named WikiCells. Picking up from there, David Edwards along with designer Francois Azambourg and biologist Don Ingber made a kind of food casing. This food casing mimics the texture of a soft fruit skin. This casing can hold any solid, liquid or even foam kind of food securely. WikiPearl is selling small balls of food items covered in this casing. WikiPearl can be safely carried in pocket and rinsed before consuming. According to Edwards, “The elimination of plastic means a lot to me, but what will make this product go is when consumers say, ‘this is something I haven’t had before’.”
And if you try WikiPearl, you will say the same. Just imagine the possibilities it offers - orange membrane containing orange juice, coconut membrane containing mango ice-cream, grape membrane holding wine and tomato membrane holding gazpacho.