By Joan Avolio, R.D., L.D.N. — Pediatric Alliance — Arcadia Division
Have your yogurt and eat the container too!
In the near future this statement may very well be true. David Edwards, a biomedical Engineer at Harvard, has developed WikiCells– a way to enclose food and drink inside soft skins comprised of natural food particles. Much like the skin of a grape or a tomato, these edible packages enclose food contents and are even seasoned to compliment the food. It may be hard to imagine, but here are a few examples: tomato and basil flavored membrane around gazpacho; a chocolate membrane that holds hot chocolate; a raspberry membrane around delicious yogurt.
Edwards and his team are currently working on the food safety and stability aspects of production and distribution, with hygiene as a major concern. For example, just as you would wash the outside of an orange or scrub the potato skin before cooking and eating, the WikiCell could be washed in the same manner.
Why all the effort into reducing plastic packaging and food containers? Well, to lessen the carbon footprint and make our planet a better place for our children and future generations, of course. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that the US produced 31 million tons of plastic waste in 2010, and only 8% of that was recovered for recycling. With numbers like these it is important to explore alternate methods of food packaging. As Edwards says, “Our perspective is that eventually, the packaging of tomorrow will be the fruit of today”.
Read more about WikiCells at www.fastcoexist.com:
Go to www.WikiCells.com:
EPA on plastic waste here: