Addressing the problem of food waste with 3D printed clay containers

Published on September 7, 2020 by Aysha M.

During the lockdown caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Lea Randebrock did not waste time on despair but was busy making her contribution to a more sustainable way of life. The young designer wanted to address the problem of food waste, so she created 3D printed clay containers to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for a longer time. It’s a remarkable achievement as Randebrock did not have access to many resources during the lockdown, but a 3D printer and just enough material made it possible for the The Clay Pantry project to be born.

Lea Randebrock is a Finnish-German designer, who studied furniture design in Finland and is now studying at the Royal College of Art in London. Inspired by traditional manufacturing techniques and materials from all over the world, she creates designs with the aim to challenge the perception of material and shape. High in her priorities is  the rethinking of how products are made and used in the context of sustainability.

3D printed clay containers

All image credits: Lea Randebrock

The eco-friendly containers were 3D printed with clay, or more precisely, with a porous terracotta material. This particular material enables the objects to cool through evaporation of water. Therefore, in a way, the 3D printed clay containers act like plants in that they need to be watered in order to fully function. For instance, one of the designs, the Tempered Box,  provides a cool humid climate regardless of whether it is inside or outside the fridge.

For the moment, The Clay Pantry collection includes 3 pieces in total: the Tempered Box, the Fruit Shelf (displayed on the cover image of the article), and the Root Stool, which is designed for root vegetables that require a dry and dark storage location. The limited resources due to the lockdown did not stop Randebrock from manufacturing practical but also rather aesthetically pleasing prototypes. All of the pieces were 3D printed on a desktop Anycubic printer.

3D printed clay containers

The Tempered Box provides a cool humid climate when inside or outside of the fridge.

While the 3D printed clay containers might not solve the global problem of food waste overnight, it is an important step towards inspiring more people to rethink their lifestyle and motivate them to use objects that are sustainable. With the Clay Pantry collection, we have witnessed once again how 3D printing technologies allow to easily create pieces that make our lives better in one way or another. You can see all the designs of Lea Randebrock on her website, as well as watch the making of the 3D printed collection in the video below that was shared by the Royal College of Art.

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