Main ingredients


Plastic Culture

Social Designer Marco Federico Cagnoni explores the synergy between human and nature, criticising the global abuse of toxic substances originating from chemical synthesis and their relative environmental implication. Through a multidisciplinary collaboration with Han Wösten chairman of the Microbiology department at Utrecht University and Gerard Van Buiten director of Utrecht Botanical garden, he developed a novel bioplastic material extracted from the latex of well known Dutch vegetables and plants: Schorseneren (Salsify) and Paardenbloem (Dandelion). Latex is a natural polymer produced by over 12,500 plant species. Marco Cagnoni narrowed this group down to two species that are ideal for making bioplastic. Flexible and long-lasting, this material can replace most synthetic polymers. The plants are also highly nutritious. Rice, potatoes, corn, cassava and sugarcane are the most common sources for current bioplastics. But, with a rapidly expanding global population, turning carbohydrates into plastic is not logical or ethical. Why waste food on bioplastic when you can make bioplastic and food from one plant?

Text submitted by the maker

Ingredient list

Salsify, Dandelion


BioInspired Innovation department of Utrecht University, Utrecht Botanical Research Centre, Microbiology laboratory at Utrecht University

Photo credits

Nicole Marnati, Filippo Tittarelli

Physical samples

0018-1, 0018-2, 0018-3, 0018-4, 0018-5, 0018-6, 0018-7, 0018-8
Accessible to visitors of the Future Materials Lab