Fertilizer Take-out Box

This a fast food sandwich box made of a biodegradable plastic that acts as a fertilizer when decomposed. I've seen many products that had seeds embedded in them, but there's no guarentee that those plants could survive the environment where they end up, or they could even be an invasive species. Because of this, I decided to design a box that would fertilize the soil instead of planting something in it, as a way to help nature along, not manipulate it. I couldnt find any products online that were described as bidegradable fertilizer, so I had to design my own. My research led me to natural ingredients that could be used as fertilizer, such as milk. Remembering a science experiment from high school, I decided to try making a milk plastic based material that would hold up to the needs of being a food container, but also transition well to fertilizer. I ended up making about 25 different batches, each with different recipies, but I unfortunately do not have the scientific knowledge on how to design a good bioplastic. I plan to in the future partner with a material science student to further develop the idea.

I decided to use an origami method of construction for this package because I didn't want to use any glue to hold together folds, as it would likely not decompose well. Additionally, this method allowed for less wasted material during manufacturing. The packages would be shipped either flat, to be formed with machine assistance at stores, or pre-formed and nested within each other. The package is coated in soy wax, which acts as a protective layer for the food. Soy wax is more environmentally friendly than regular wax, and takes less time to decompose, which will help the process move along faster while still protecting the food for the duration of it's use.

The unique shape of the box will encourage people to interact with it. Although this product still works when thrown on the side of the road, my hope is that the packaging will be insteresting enough that people take it home to use in their garden. Because I wanted people to take this package home, I had to design it with this in mind. The origami folds around the side act not only as visual interest, but support for the package. They allow for a much higher amount of pressure to be put on the package in order for it to collapse. This means while it is easy to fold and unfold, it is much harder to damage, meaning people will be able to keep it around longer.

Best conditions for fastest decomposition would be in rainy and warm climates, but they will eventually decompose anywhere. In addition to fertilizing roadside grass and home gardens, these would make a nice addition to a composter.