Fast-food packaging made from discarded corn husk designed for the circular economy
An unsustainable packaging system where embodied energy of raw resources is mostly lost to incineration and landfill - it is simply not economic for large companies to reuse the materials from FMCP packaging.
The Current Linear Model
Proposed Circular Model
An improved system where no energy is lost and circularity is achieved from corn farm all the way to end-of-life. The flow of money is considered closely as this will ultimately determine the success of sustainable packaging in modern society.
The Design Process
Finding out consumer habits with some clever user research. The picture here is an exercise where a subject would be given an assortment of McDonald's packaging and told to sort them into the correct bins under time pressure. We also explored different stakeholders by visiting a recycling plant and talking to McDonald's employees. Data was subsequently plotted and analysed, and an experience map was created.
Our research concluded that recycling is not working, along with many other insights. Therefore we generated ideas that allowed embodied energy to be recaptured without traditional recycling techniques. We also wanted to capture a waste product in the current fast food system and reuse that as a material. We chose corn husk.
To prove our concept the team of 3 agreed that a physical prototype was necessary. We purchased dried corn husk, and using papermaking techniques, made a burger box, chip box, drinks cup, and straw which all functioned to specification. These were taken to McDonald's and tested with users to gain further insight on their opinion of the problem and this particular solution: many were intrigued and excited.
A short film intended to be the Kickstarter video that would both explain our system and excite potential users/investors in a creative way that they wouldn't forget.