A sustainable + biodegradable material

Kichin is a sustainable and biodegradable material alternative made from food waste. This project was initially created for the Biodesign Challenge.


Spring 2017


Research, Design, Sustainability

How do we move towards a more sustainable future?
As designers, we must be aware of how materiality affects consumer products. Plastic is an often-used material that is utilized in everything from packaging to household items. The problem with plastic items is that they are often quickly disposed of. Plastic takes over 450 years to degrade, which causes the material to build up in landfills.


tons of plastic is produced globally each year.


tons of plastic is produced globally each year


deaths occurred in the 20th century alone due to volcanic pollution.


deaths occurred in the 20th century alone due to volcanic pollution.

Kichin: a solution

Environmental Impact

Kichin is made completely out of food waste and natural resources. Kichin strives to keep both plastic and waste out of landfills, and is biodegradable when disposed. It also uses heatless manufacturing, which reduces harm to the environment during production.

Environmental Impact

Food waste is a cheap, abundant, and readily available resource. Kichin turns waste into value by utilizing food waste as a resource, while saving the energy and cost of recycling and manufacturing plastic.

Environmental Impact

Kichin has the ability to create a community and spread awareness on both large and small scales. Large scale: building a relationship/system of recycling food waste from businesses to manufacturing facilities. Small scale: community recycling and DIY material making.

Process. research. experimentation.

Orange peels

The fibrous nature of orange peels gives the material its strong and durable structure. The peels also make up the mass of the material.


The chitin from shrimp shells can be used to create Chitosan. Chitosan with acetic acid is used as the perfect binder for all of the ingredients.


Gluten can be extracted from wheat, an abundant resource. The elasticity of gluten decreases brittleness and reduces cracking while drying.

Cricket protein

Crickets are an abundant and sustainable source of protein. Protein powder from crickets helps add extra strength and structure to the material.

plant protein

Plant protein is another sustainable and abundant protein resource and can be an alternative to cricket protein.

Material Benefits