- story by MaterialDistrict
As one of the oldest and most popular beverages in the world, tea fulfils the increase of our consumption demand within the modern food industry, yet more and more of its residues are disposed of as garbage. Easily overlooked to many, such a problem did not escape designer and researcher Jiwei Zhou, but inspired her to ponder over the logics of materials concerned with environmental sustainability. After research and repeated testing, Zhou created a new and 100% biodegradable material which is synthesised from recycled tea residues and bioadhesives, named tea clay. Tea clay perfectly retains the loose and porous structure of tea leaves, which makes it conducive to the absorption of odours and the release of fragrance. Additionally, wet tea clay has a good plasticity like clay itself, and a wood-like workability as well as durability, when dried and fixed, with a relatively lighter texture and rustic character.
Photos: Jiwei Zhou / Yuxing Wang / CHAxART