Eggware is a novel ceramic and concrete like material, made out of calcareous food waste- “eggshells.” The global egg consumption exceeds 1200 billion units/year. YLEM identified and investigated this massive valuable resource, and has continually transposed the detritus into bespoke items of use.
On an average, 200eggs/year are consumed per person, globally, and eggshells, despite being a pure source of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), are majorly discarded or incinerated. Now CaCO3 is one of the most abundant materials on the planet but it is being extensively exploited for human consumption. On the other hand, we have a completely untapped capital i.e. shells of different foods we eat like eggs, clams, oysters etc. that can be introduced as an alternative resource.
YLEM saw an opportunity in this waste flow and a new substance, “Eggware” was born at the intersection of food and design. Partnering with local food vendors/processors gave us an opportunity to recast and salvage heaps of this organic matter into high-design objects.
Given the impressive volumes, we were determined to create a small-scale interconnected system that can facilitate alternative visions, which add value to classed waste resources, promoting narrative changes and painting a future with new sustainable crafts.
Ceramics, as a material/technique, have been in existence since the beginning of time, with each ethnicity having its own version. Although ceramics hold great importance in our material cultures, their making is highly pollutive. Objects are usually baked at over 2000°C and about 30% of all pieces come out damaged. These pieces usually end up in the landfills since there is no monetary use for them.
On the contrary, the Eggware-making process consumes no heat as the products are air-dried. The damaged bits from one batch are salvaged and used up in the next lot, ensuring a zero-waste production cycle.
Led by Midushi Kochhar, a trained industrial designer from Central St. Martins, UAL, YLEM’s design and making methodology aims at redirecting and rebuilding symbiotic connections for circular futures.