Innovation That Matters

Materials include expired food products, grass and tree branches | Photo source Ürün fotoğrafları

Design studio turns food waste into home furnishings

Architecture & Design

A design firm is using biological waste as a raw material to make colourful products such as lamps, tabletops and wall treatments


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Spotted: Turkish design firm Ottan Studio has come up with a novel way to save on natural resources – by upcycling materials such as fruit peels, nutshells, fallen leaves or mown grass into sustainable home furnishings. The firm says that its process allows organic waste to be used for manufacturing home furnishings, rather than cutting down trees. With around 800 million tonnes of garden waste alone generated in cities annually, there is plenty of raw material available.

Founder Ayse Yılmaz came up with the idea of using biological waste as a raw material while sitting under a tree in a park, watching the colourful autumn leaves on the ground. Her team developed a process to upcycle organic waste by first cleaning, drying and grinding the materials, and then mixing the resulting powders with sustainable resins, before injecting them into moulds. The result is a wide range of “minimal yet multi-purpose” products, she told Springwise.

Ottan Studio sources its materials by collecting food and plant waste from local companies and municipalities. Materials include expired food products, grass and tree branches. The company turns these into colourful products such as lamps, tabletops, wall treatments and even automobile interiors. All of the colours are derived from the materials, and include no added colourants.

Ottan founder, Ayşe Yılmaz, summarises the positive environmental impact of their production model, saying to Springwise that “We don’t dig the mountains, destroy the forests and spend excessive energy to process the raw materials. We use 100 per cent locally-sourced waste and materials. Imagine fallen leaves on the streets…By using those leaves or pruned branches, we can save a 50-year-old tree that would otherwise be cut down to create the new product.”

Here at Springwise, we have seen that there is no end to the number of innovative ways to turn waste into useful products. Just in the last few weeks, we have covered brands and researchers who have developed ways to turn castor beans into eyewear and food waste into PPE.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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