Innovation That Matters

The biodegradable face shields | Photo source Alice Potts

Bioplastic face shields made from food waste in London

Health & Wellbeing

The shields are made from food waste, as an alternative to the many items of personal protective equipment made from single-use plastic


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Spotted: Designer Alice Potts has created a collection of bioplastic face shields for the NGV Triennialm, by combining food waste with flowers. Unlike most items of PPE which are normally made from single-use plastics, Pott’s designs are biodegradable and use food waste collected from around London.

The designer created 20 face shields, which will be exhibited at the NGV Triennial at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne. From December, the designs and bioplastic formula will be made available to everyone as an open-source design.

Named the Dance Biodegradable Personal Protective Equipment (DBPPE) Post-Covid Facemasks, each has a 3D-printed top section, combined with a biodegradable, bioplastic shield. The colour and exact structure of each shield varies with the food and flowers they are made from and dyed with.

Potts believes that the biodegradable face shields could be an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic face shields, which are having an impact on our environment as “covid-waste”.

Potts began her project after her brother, a paramedic, reported a lack of personal protective equipment at the beginning of the pandemic. “For everyday consumers, I don’t think it’s essential to have such a material like plastic for everyday use. We are not exposed to the same level of Covid as those in the hospitals or on the frontline, so we do not need the same material,” said Potts

Her face shields are among 30 new works commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria, which will feature 87 projects by more than 100 artists, designers and collectives from 33 countries.

Written By: Katrina Lane

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