With Jun Aizaki’s latest design, you could be picking up your morning latte poured into a dried gourd rather than a disposable adorned with a green siren. The Brooklyn-based designer, who owns CRÈME, recently launched a project to reduce single-use plastic waste by shaping the flowering fruit into simple drinking vessels. Heading The Gourd Project, Aizaki created both a cup and a flask that can hold hot and cold liquids and are an alternative to traditional products. After three to six uses, the containers can be composted with other food waste.
Aizaki “explored the century-old craft of drying plants to make receptacles, in order to find a way to reduce plastic and contribute to nature through design,” project organizers said. Each biodegradable vessel takes about six weeks to grow from its first planting at a Pennsylvania farm with six harvests each year. Because gourds have tough skin and fibrous insides, they’re shaped easily as they fill out. Each 3D mold is made of plastic right now, although the team hopes to switch to reusable materials once it expands production.
The sustainable project comes amid reports that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is increasing plastic consumption and affecting how, and if, the material is recycled, in addition to companies banning reusable cups and containers to stop the spread of the virus.
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