A Viennese designer shows us what to do with leftover food…make reusable tableware

Viennese designer Barbara Gollackner collaborated with Australian chef and restaurant owner Martin Kilga to create the ‘Wasteware’ collection, a range of tableware made using leftover food! The duo created a collection of bowls, plates, and cutlery using industrial and personal food waste. They displayed these products at the Vienna Design Week in 2021, piquing quite a bit of interest, including even mine, now!

Designer: Studio Barbara Gollackner 

“The idea came from the fact that I read about Europe wasting 90 million tons of food every year and at the same time producing around 30 million tons of waste from single-use dishes. So I thought about ‘connecting’ these two issues and trying to make new materials out of food waste,” said Gollackner. To bring the interesting tableware items to life, the studio utilized food waste such as pork skin, and old bread – from personal and industrial waste.  The waste collected was dried out or cooked and then blended into a smooth paste which was held together using mycelium. Water or breadcrumbs were added to the mix if needed.

Once the smooth paste was prepared, it was inserted into a printer and 3D printed in different shapes. The studio was assisted in this by a chef and food designer Peter König. The end result was purple-colored teaspoons, beige bowls, and moss-green cups that form a minimal collection of tableware that can be used multiple times. “The designs had to be super simple shapes – we are just in the middle of the process and we are still experimenting with the right consistency of the printing paste – the designs can not have any supercomplicated shapes, it wouldn’t be possible to print,” said Gollackner.

“One way we use the waste that we produce ourselves, on the other side we use industrial food waste, like pork skin. There are huge amounts of pork skin thrown in Austria by the meat industry,” the designer concluded. The Wasteware collection is a commendable effort on Gollackner’s part to demonstrate that there are smart alternatives to simply throwing away food. Her reusable tableware is an excellent solution to the food wastage problem and a great example of how things can almost always be reused!