Design studio Tomorrow Machine created a biodegradable juice bottle using a potato starch-based material that can be peeled off like fruit peel and then eaten, composted or dissolved.
Dubbed GoneShells, the bottle is currently a prototype being developed by the studio in collaboration with global company Eckes Granini for its Brämhults juice brand.
“We wanted a name that would symbolize a natural method of protecting food, similar to fruit peels or eggshells,” Anna Glansén, founder of Tomorrow Machine, told Dezeen. “‘Gone’ connects with the unique invention behind the material with its multiple possibilities to make the packaging disappear after use.”
The bottle has a curved shape, is made from a potato starch-based material and is coated with a bio-based waterproof barrier both inside and out to preserve the juice inside.
Once the juice is ready, the bottle can be peeled into a spiral formation, much like fruit, which breaches its barrier and immediately begins the material’s process of decomposition.
After that, the “peel” can be eaten or dissolved in water. Although Tomorrow Machine can’t reveal any further details about the material at this time, the studio said it is biodegradable and compostable and contains no synthetic ingredients.
“As long as you don’t activate the degradation process by peeling the bottle or otherwise tearing it apart, it works in a similar way to a traditional plastic bottle,” explains Glansén.
GoneShells can be manufactured using existing equipment designed to process fossil fuel-based thermoplastics, according to its developers.
The material design also aims to fight landfill and address the lack of recycling and industrial composting facilities in some parts of the world.
“We started this project by asking if it’s reasonable for a package to last years or even decades if the contents go bad after a few days or weeks?” said branding agency F&B Happy, which is working on the project has worked.
“By developing packaging with a lifespan that better suits the content, GoneShells aims to offer a new form of sustainable packaging that skips recycling systems in the traditional sense,” it added.
The prototype bottle includes a green cap also made from the potato starch-based material.
Although the packaging is currently decorated with manually foiled lettering, F&B Happy says it is working on a printing solution “that follows the concept of the bottle”.
GoneShells was informed of a previous Tomorrow Machine project called This Too Shall Pass – edible packaging with a lifespan that matches the food inside.
“We made a number of prototypes, but the packaging was never intended to go into mass production due to the high material costs and complicated production methods,” Glansén said.
The designer explained that the existing manufacturing techniques and cheaper raw materials used to create GoneShells make it a viable product.
Designers around the world are increasingly looking for more sustainable ways to package products. Australian biomaterials company Great Wrap has developed a compostable bioplastic alternative to cling film made from potato waste, while Packioli is a soap wrap made from peapod and artichoke waste.
Images and video courtesy of Tomorrow Machine.
Trademark: F&B happy
Research partners: RISE research institute of Sweden
financing: BioInnovation, a joint venture between Vinnova, Formas and the Swedish Energy Agency