Food Waste Ware: tableware with lacquer made from food waste

Japanese designer Kosuke Araki created tableware called Food Waste Ware, made from carbonised food waste, and Anima, also made from food waste and with added traditional Japanese lacquer.

In our current society, we often don’t think twice about throwing away food, because it is so easy to buy new. All in all, we throw away about a third of all the food that is produced uneaten. A lot of this waste is disposed of on landfills, contributing to environmental problems, such as the release of CO2 and methane. Araki decided to work with food waste to make people aware of the reality of the current food waste issues.

His project started in 2013 during his graduation project from Royal College of Art in London. He started documenting the food waste in several food markets and food shops in London as well as in his own kitchen. Using the thrown away food, he developed a way to turn it into tableware. The food, including non-edible parts, is carbonised and turned into powder. Mixed with animal glue gained from bones and skins, the charcoal is moulded into shape.

Anima is a sequel to the Food Waste Ware project. The tableware is still made from carbonised food waste, but now Urushi, traditional Japanese lacquer made from the sap of the Asian lacquer tree, is added. In addition to giving the tableware a polish, the lacquer also adds practical strength.

Araki compiled his findings in a booklet. The research booklet and the mould used for forming tableware are designed as if they were an actual recipe book and a real kitchen utensil so as to make viewers to imagine what they could do as individuals.

Both projects are currently on display in the exhibition Food Revolution 5.0 – Design for the Society of Tomorrow, held at Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Applied Arts) in Berlin, Germany. The exhibition is opened from 18 May until 30 September 2018.

Photos: Kosuke Araki / Masami Naruo


  1. Ramon J. Rodriguez says:

    to prevent CO2 emissions from organic waste the waste is carbonised to convert it into poder? I can’t believe it.