We can all (mostly) agree that being environment-friendly and leaning towards sustainable manufacturing methods is a good thing. So is eating well and being healthy. So by the unspoken rules of the universe, doing both at the same time is doubly good and an all-around best-case scenario.
Design firm Carly Ratti Associati (CRA) and multinational oil and gas company Eni recently turned their efforts on something a little sweeter: an experimental juice bar capable of taking discarded orange peels from their juicer and turning them into 3D printed disposable cups.
Feel the Peel, as the hybrid juicer/cup-maker prototype is called, is a 3.10-meter (9-foot) tall machine capable of holding up to 1.500 oranges in its overhanging dome. When a customer orders a cup of juice, the machine rolls oranges into a compressor where the juice is extracted and freshly-squeed into the customer’s cup.
The discarded orange peel from the drained orange is then dried, milled, and combined with Polylactic Acid (PLA) to from bioplastic. This bioplastic is then melted down and used as a filament in an onboard 3D printer to print more cups for dispensing orange juice to future customers.
Ultimately, the machine ensures that every part of the orange gets used and reused with a zero-waste system. And in staying true to its sustainable ethos, the 3D printed cups can also be easily recycled or composted to grow yet even more oranges. According to founder Carlo Ratti, the project was made with circularity in mind and illustrates what a cradle-to-cradle design solution might look like for food and food packaging—oranges or otherwise.