The next step in biodegradable food packaging might be these attractive-looking little vessels from Swedish design studio Tomorrow Machine. Made of natural and quickly decomposing materials, the “This Too Shall Pass” series is a smart set of containers that will disappear soon after the products they hold.
The designers created alternatives to plastic packaging that were inspired by nature’s own packaging: the skins and peels around fruits and vegetables. They researched natural materials that are strong enough to withstand the trip to the consumer, easy enough to remove the product from, and quick to decompose harmlessly.
The team came up with three types of containers. The first is a vessel that holds oil-based food. It’s made of a beeswax exterior and sugar interior. To open it, you simply crack it like an egg. Once the beeswax is broken, the sugar is no longer protected from the air and begins to decompose. It can be run under water to hasten the decomposition process or left on its own to decompose within a few days.
A drinks container is composed of agar agar seaweed gel and water. It has to be refrigerated and decomposes at roughly the same rate as the beverage inside, so it is perfect for smoothies, milk, and fresh juice which have to be consumed in a short time. Because it withers as the product inside ages, it provides a visual reminder that the liquid needs to be consumed soon. The package is opened by poking a hole in the top.
Finally, a dry goods container meant to hold grains and rice is perhaps the most satisfying one to open. It is composed of biodegradable beeswax, and to open it you simply peel away the packaging like an orange rind. All of these natural packages are meant to draw our attention to the ridiculous fact that consumables are either used or rotten in a short amount of time, but the packages they come in sit in landfills for centuries.