Super-Synthetics by Maria Idicula Kurian, London Super-Synthetics by Maria Idicula Kurian, London
Super-Synthetics by Maria Idicula Kurian, London Super-Synthetics by Maria Idicula Kurian, London
Super-Synthetics by Maria Idicula Kurian, London Super-Synthetics by Maria Idicula Kurian, London

Is rice starch a sustainable alternative to plastic?

04 : 07 : 2017 Sustainability : Packaging : Design

London – Maria Kurian has re-engineered ecological materials to create alternatives to plastic that only last for as long as they are used.

The manufacturing, processing and disposal of packaging materials such as plastic, thermocol moulds and foams releases harmful toxins that are environmentally damaging. Ironically, most of the synthetic objects that we use for the shortest time, such as plastic drinking cups, are often made from these materials.

‘Objects that we use sometimes for just seconds can take many thousands of years to break down,’ explains Kurian. The Central Saint Martins graduate’s Super-Synthetics project was designed to challenge this wasteful practice of creating short-lived objects from these harmful materials.

Kurian created a plastic cup alternative that disintegrates after 10 minutes of use by layering rice starch. Gelatin was also re-engineered to create a shot glass that is ideal for use in a marathon or medical setting where cups only need to last for a few seconds. More substantial objects such as a pint glass and a water bottle that could potentially last for two days were also made by increasing the number of starch layers in the manufacturing process.

The Big Picture

  • Rethink materials and supply chains from a Whole-system Thinking perspective, taking into account a product’s entire journey
  • Brands need to commit to developing solutions that will have a positive environmental and social impact. For more, download our free Sustainability Summit report
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