The Future: Edible Packaging

The environment is in a very precarious state at the moment. One would have to be living under a rock not to be aware of this as the problem is being discussed on television, in magazines, on the radio, and on in the internet. We cannot run away from it, and denying it certainly does not make the problem go away. But perhaps there is a helpful solution to the growing problem: edible packaging. What if it were possible to eat the material that our products come packaged in? Dr. David Edwards, a Harvard professor, is currently working to make it happen. WikiCells is a technology that aims to make packaging edible.

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The beginnings of WikiCells can be traced back to a few years ago when the collaboration of Dr. Edwards and French Designer Francois Azambourg resulted in a bottle that is edible.

To simplify the process, Edwards says, “If that’s hard to imagine, think of it this way: a tomato and basil membrane that houses gazpacho, a chocolate membrane holding hot chocolate, or an orange membrane containing orange juice.”

Edward’s goal is not to waste anything and he would also like to make the experience enjoyable. Edwards already has a few samples of his creation on display and people can trek to the Lab Store Paris to check them out. Sanitation is something that he is working on as people may want the option of washing the food items prior to consuming them.

To start off, Edwards plans to make the WikiCell products available via a company in Paris. But eventually, once the product takes off, he is hoping that restaurants, companies and even entire cities or towns will want to manufacture similar products. Perhaps traditional packaging could see the end of its career.

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Packaging as a whole is a big problem in today’s modern society and despite a push towards recycling the vast majority of packaging waste still ends up in land fill sites around the world. The main problem is obviously that despite the harmful impact a lot of packaging has on the environment we still need to provide containers for our food products. Edible packaging is perhaps the most elegant solution to the world’s packaging problems, conveniently bypassing the need for the production of non-recyclables such as plastic bags.

Furthermore once edible packaging does take off, as many believe it will, they’ll be no need for recycling plants and lest requirements for the processing of waste materials. In fact with edible packaging you’d be likely to see a large reduction in the volume of household waste produced.

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