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Social Design: Student Projects

MARCO CAGNONI

PLASTIC CULTURE

Bioplastic is posed as a sustainable alternative to petrol-based plastics, and will be produced in exponentially increasing quantities in the coming years. Rice, potatoes, corn, and cassava are considered the most efficient and resilient for the manufacture of PLA in particular. Yet turning food into inedible material is problematic from environmental, economic, and ethical perspectives. As the world’s population grows, its survival will rely on a corresponding growth in agricultural land. The problem is even more absurd considering that PLA is used to make disposable products—we are wasting food to produce objects designed to be wasted. This project proposes a different method: to grow edible plants that also contain latex, thus harvesting both raw bioplastic and food, without wasting life-sustaining carbohydrates.The research explored the ideal plants for this system, such as dandelion and scorzonera, which are both highly nutritious and contain a high amount of latex. Scorzonera was also discovered to be a source of EVA, a nontoxic, antibacterial and potentially biodegradable thermoplastic that could replace elastic, flexible, and spongy plastics made of synthetic polymers. The project lays out the design for a large-scale, automated vertical farm owned

collectively by local citizens, returning agency over the allocation of agricultural land and its financial profits to the people affected by its larger consequences. By realizing an alternative to private capitalism, the vertical farm will not only produce bioplastic and food more cheaply, but also find a constructive context for industrialisation, automation, and technological advancement.

PLASTIC CULTURE

PLASTIC CULTURE
PLASTIC CULTURE
PLASTIC CULTURE