Many businesses have strived to bolster their green credentials by reducing the amount of packaging they use, but what about eliminating the need for plastic packaging for food products entirely?
As society has shifted from eating whole foods to processed products, food packaging has become a major part of our solid waste system.
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But because there are rules about what’s safe for food to be wrapped in, lots of this packaging is difficult or impossible to recycle.
However, Harvard scientists claim they have developed a food packaging technology that could eliminate the need for plastic containers, and could be on supermarket shelves within 12 months.
WikiCells, the brainchild of Harvard professor David Edwards are “novel edible forms for eating and drinking transportable foods and drinks without plastic”.
WikiCells consist of a natural food membrane held together by electrostatic forces and containing a liquid, emulsion, foam or solid food substance, possibly within an edible shell.
“The idea was to try to create a bottle which was based on how nature creates bottles,” Edwards says.
Edward’s team has already created several WikiCells, including a tomato membrane containing gazpacho soup that can be poured over bread, and a grape-like membrane holding wine.
“In the near term, we will be encountering WikiCells in restaurant settings,” he says.
While it’s not every day someone invents edible food packaging, it does highlight the need for all-natural products, so perhaps you can take inspiration from Edwards.