Fighting food waste with design – and some beauty

July 26, 2018

By: Rafael Tonon

Japanese designer Kosuke Araki has created tableware using recycled food waste – using carbonized vegetables mixed to a kind of “animal glue”, extracted from bones and skins

We have never been so concerned about food waste in gastronomy scene as today. As many chefs decided to focus their motto on the leftovers and wastes that swell in the kitchens, now designers have also begun to think of ideas that can, if not solve, at least alleviate this problem. And that goes through all the chain: from dishes to pieces of equipment that help to give a correct disposal to the garbage.

Kosuke Araki is a Tokyo-based designer that has created a tableware series all made from recycled food waste. Called Anima, his collection features bowls, plates, and even cups.

But what has caught the attention to his work is the fact that he only uses carbonized vegetable waste mixed to a kind of “animal glue”, that he extracts from the bones and skin of animal offcuts.

Ashes of vegetables and woods have been used in ceramics for ages, but his work differs from the other pieces by privileging the waste – even of animals, such as the bones, that would be certainly discarded, seeking for an integral use.

“As a designer, I am always pondering ways of designing things and living within the natural cycle”, he said to The New York Times. It also means to focus at the end of the chain, thinking about how and where every living thing will end its life.

Araki has been fighting food waste for a while. One of his last projects was Food Waste Ware, in which all of his creations were made out of food waste collected from food markets, shops and his own kitchen. He visited food markets in order to ask for vendors to put aside organic waste for him. He did the same in his house and then he documented how much food was discarded, which was then compiled into a booklet with instructions on how to turn food waste into tableware.

The research booklet and the mold used for forming tableware are designed as if they were an actual recipe book and a real kitchen utensil so as to make viewers imagine what they could do as individuals. After that, he made up his mind on “using food waste as a material with appreciation to lives, aiming to make people take notice of the reality of the current food waste issue and the fact we sometimes forget to have regard for it”. And that we could, at least, see some beauty in them.

Rafael Tonon

+ posts by Rafael

Rafael Tonon is a journalist and food writer. He writes about food, drinks and trends in gastronomy. He contributes to many media outlets, such as Eater, Vice, Slate and more. He maintains the trend food blog What the Fork.

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