Student takes eggshells to a whole new level

26-05-2017 | |
Innovative use for eggshells. Photo: Edinburgh Napier University
Innovative use for eggshells. Photo: Edinburgh Napier University

Design student Martina Zupan has created a range of sustainable tableware and cutlery made from eggshells. How did she come up with this idea?

The 4th year student at Edinburgh Napier University has designed and produced a product called “Colleggtion” – a disposal circular plate with tearaway cutlery that is made from waste eggshells.

Ms Zupan, 26, has developed a process that allows for waste eggshells to be formed into products. While she is still awaiting her own patent, she believes the tableware could help highlight the opportunities that upcycling waste eggshells can bring.

She said the idea came to her as she was making scrambled eggs: “After some extensive research, I found that despite eggshells carrying a range of beneficial components, very little was actually being done to upcycle waste product. “I tested eggshell powder in a range of formats – including adding it to muffins, into plaster for egg cups and even cement and other resins but it was the tableware that really caught my imagination.”

She worked closely with research teams at the university and believes her sustainable product will capture the imagination. “I think I’ve managed to produce a sophisticated product that has the potential to highlight a new method of producing sustainable tableware and cutlery – it’s been really exciting to work on. “Very few know of the benefits that eggshells can bring to the environment. With this project eggshell waste could not only be prevented and reduced, but eggshells would be recycled into a valuable product. “Being fully compostable means the tableware can be disposed of together with food waste, which will then be, with the help of anaerobic digestion, turned into biogases which act as a source of green energy as well as nutrient-rich bio-fertiliser. It has massive potential.”

Richard Firth, lecturer in product design at Edinburgh Napier University, praised Ms Zupan’s range of research: “Martina’s commitment, determination and drive to “try and try again” has been rewarded in a design product that is truly unique with the potential to achieve real change with regard to how we think about materials, design our products and how we engage with producing our products within the 21st century.”

The products are currently being exhibited at the University’s “More than a Degree Show” – an annual showcase of new and emerging designers, photographers, film makers, journalists and other creative industries.

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Tony Mcdougal Freelance Journalist