Algae is not a conventional design material, but it seems to be growing on designers. A number of folks have lately incorporated the live aquatic plants into gorgeous and sustainable products. Now, Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros are using algae to make printable, sustainable plastics that could one day completely replace synthetic, fossil fuel-based equivalents.
The design duo grows their own algae, dries it out, and then chemically processes it into an algae-based polymer. Fed into a 3D printer, the material acts just like a regular synthetic plastic, and can be used to make anything from water bottles to tableware, trashcans, and shampoo containers.
Klarenbeek and Dros hope this is just one option in an entirely new materials palette of biopolymers, including plastics made out of mushrooms, potatoes, and cocoa bean shells.
“Our idea is that in the future there will be a shop on every street corner where you can ‘bake’ organic raw materials, just like fresh bread,” said Klarenbeek in an interview with Dezeen.
“You won't have to go to remote industrial estates to buy furniture and products from multinational chains. 3D-printing will be the new craft and decentralized economy.”