What's the best way to combat plastic waste? Some people recycle, other reuse but industrial designer Katharina Unger has a more innovative idea: eat it.
Unger teamed up with Austrian-based studio Livin and the microbiology department at Utrecht University to create a tabletop farm that cultivates edible fungi that feeds on plastic. The technology is a way to combat the 280 million tons of plastic waste produced annually.
"The fungi digests the plastic without accumulating the compounds," Unger explained. The team used two popular types of fungi in the experiment: oyster mushrooms and split gill mushrooms (which are widely enjoyed in Asia).
Called Fungi Mutarium, the table top farm features an innovative system for growing fungi spores inside cups made from agar agar, a jelly-like substance made from seaweed. The spores feed on plastic and become edible once they change color.
Unger and studio Livin also designed special utensils that allow diners to scrape, lift or suck the fungi through a straw. See it all in action:
Discover Fine Dining Lovers' exclusive Why Waste? video series, featuring Massimo Bottura and his team of chefs, as they teach us how to repurpose leftovers and trimmings in delicious and imaginative ways, from vegetables to dairy. Take a look