Material

Cassava starch, Cardboard waste

By

Made in

Biodegradable 236 Bioplastic 78 Bioresin 21 Board material 31 Composite 99 Paper 25 Plant-based 172 Recyclable 119 Vegan 89 Cardboard waste 7 Cassava starch 4 Clay 17 Iron oxide 2 Vegetable oil 3

Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste
Cassava starch, Cardboard waste

Photos: Carmen Pellon

Cardbond

Cardbond aims to create a circular material.

The material consists of discarded cardboard and Cassava starch sourced locally around Dalston's Ridley road market, a predominantly Caribbean and Jamaican market. Cassava or Yam is a high yield starchy tuberous root that needs little water and no pesticides to cultivate, this makes it a good candidate for bioplastics and biofuels around the world as well as being central to the diet of subtropical countries. The outcome resulted in an economically viable, low energy and low resource consumption material. Which has a range of scalable applications in homeware, packaging, hospitality and agriculture.

The project was born from a frustration with the failure of plastic recycling and a radical approach to seeing the future eradication of the material. Recycling is an industry worth millions, the project aims to reimagine a closed-loop system where no material is discarded and all is recycled. In Western society very little waste is recycled, therefore tonnes of plastic going to landfill, polluting soil and oceans and posing a threat to wildlife.

In the project, compostability is seen as the ultimate recycling process, where the material is part of a closed-loop system, eventually going back to the ground. After a series of experiments creating DIY bioplastics using cornstarch, the attention shifted towards composite materials. Cardbond was developed during the first lockdown, it is composed of materials sourced locally and the only workshop available was a household kitchen. The latter resulted in a material that needs little energy and processes to be produced. The absence of workshops and therefore the inability to physically test the application of the material, gave space to speculate in-depth on possible applications.

Having the consistency of wood, Cardbond can be used to build furniture due to its structural properties as well as waterproofed vessels for vases, plant pots or bowls. The waterproofing was informed by extensive research on biocompatible materials and the most successful, in regards to price, provenance and effectiveness, was a rosin-based pitch. The pitch, used to waterproof wooden boats, consists of rosin, a byproduct of turpentine, with added powdered clay and natural earth pigments.

The material is currently being tested as a substitute for rock wool in hydroponic systems and as a vehicle for plant rooting in collaboration with Greenlab in London. The colouring of the Cardbond and the rosin pitch was informed by extensive research on natural pigments and is still a work in progress.

Making process

The making process consists in mulching the cardboard in water, blending it and then mixing it with pre-cooked cassava glue. The mixture obtains a clay-like quality and can therefore be moulded using the slab-building technique. The material is placed evenly on a flat surface and dried to a malleable point. Once the slab is malleable the surface can be cut and shaped in different fashions. The waterproofing consists in melting the rosin pitch over a hob, adding clay powder and a drop of vegetable oil. The rosin pitch is then applied by pouring and using a heat gun to even it out the material consistency.

Text submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank. For information about reproducing (a part of) this text, please contact the maker.

Ingredients

Cardboard wasre, cassava starch, iron oxide, rosin, clay, vegetable oil, natural earth pigments

Credits

Afra Zamara for the set

Support the Future Materials Bank with a donation


With your donation, we can continue our work to support and promote the transition towards ecologically conscious art and design practices. Because we are part of the Jan van Eyck Academie, a Dutch non-profit organisation, your donation will directly contribute to growing the archive and keeping it accessible to everyone.

Donate with PayPal

Alternatively, within the European Union you can donate directly to NL32 TRIO 0320 8087 26 with BIC code TRIONL2U.

By donating, you agree to terms and conditions and the Jan van Eyck privacy policy. Your donation will be made to Stichting Van Eyck, a registered Dutch non-profit foundation. If you experience problems, please let us know.