Plastic ice cream is possible today, and it is the latest idea to recycle materials

there The designer has created what he believes is the first food made from plastic waste, as part of his final year project in Central Saint Martins.

Photo by Mile Hanaf

“This ice cream looks like it’s made of plastic” of today, or in the near future, may not be a negative judgment, but rather a “normal” observation. At least according to designer Eleonora Ortolani. Master student in the material future of the School of Design, in fact, I worked with scientists just to take a small amount of plasticBreak it down in the lab and convert it to at least vanilla flavor molecule.

Once you’re done, then He changed the vanillin to the food he most associates with taste: ice cream. Business idea titled Guilty Flavors, It was born out of Ortolani’s frustration at the vision How designers are currently using recycled plastic. In fact, they often see this turn into products that can no longer be recycled, because the plastic is now combined with resin or other materials.

“We’re actually making things worse by selling these parts as a solution to the plastic problem,” Ortolani said.

How to get rid of plastic

The prototype was shown during the exhibition.
Photo by Mile Hanaf

Is there a way people can eat plastic and get rid of it forever? This was the question from which his project began. Frankly, the weighed view can be basically speculative.

“I never imagined that I would actually be able to produce food from plastic, and it was hard for me to find a scientist who was really interested in working on this,” she said.

But he finally found it Hamid Quddussi, Head of the Food Science Course at London Metropolitan UniversityAnd through him, researcher Joanna Sadler. particularly His team at the University of Edinburgh has just used genetically modified bacteria to make vanillin from plastic.

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Synthetic vanillin, its properties and origins

The laboratory in which vanillin was made from plastic.
Photo by Mile Hanaf

Synthetic vanillin is already commonly sold and consumed in supermarkets as a cheaper alternative to natural vanilla. But where does it come from and how is it produced? Crude oil is usually used. This, in fact, shares the same fossil fuel origin as plastic.

Ortolani explained The scientists engineered an enzyme that was later introduced into the bacteria to enable them to sever the strong bonds between molecules in plastic structure as part of metabolism. Then another enzyme synthesized these unbound molecules into vanillin.

The moment the first enzymes break the chain, the material can no longer be identified as plastic – Ortolani went on to explain – it is not even a polymer but an element.

However, the product of this process should not be confused with microplastics, which are still plastics at the molecular level.

The microplastic looks like a molecule, but it’s actually a very small piece of plastic, Ortolani said. He hasn’t gone through the next essential step of turning him into something else. That’s the breakup.

The future of plastic vanillin

Vanilla ice cream in a plastic screen inside the fridge.
Photo by Mile Hanaf

Although the molecule may be chemically identical to existing synthetic vanillin, It is considered a completely new ingredient by the food safety authorities and Scientists will not allow it to be tasted until it has been subjected to all tests to be declared safe for ingestion.

And instead of eating it, Ortolani presented ice cream in a closed freezer at CSM’s graduate fair She hopes her project will spark a discussion about what we consider natural versus artificial and how these perceptions can impede our goals for food security in an era of climate change.

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Plastic ice cream from Eleonora Ortolani: photos and pictures


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