Illiana Somoroff

Shrinking Sustainability

Experimenting with making bioplastic

Designer of the Herbal Thai Sauna, Waew, is currently in the process of experimenting, she was able to make numerous different kinds of bioplastic, in an attempt to see if they would be able to contain steam and are stable enough.


Bioplastic made from curry powder - A bio-plastic try-out Waew Jeeraphat Voraphotmuangman

*This blog post is from my conversations with Waew Jeerphat.


What is bioplastic? 

Bioplastics are plastic materials that are made from renewable sources such as vegetables, fats, oils, woodchips, and pretty much anything recyclable. In collaboration with Mediamatic, in coming up with a way to continue the Neo-futurist dinner workshops, Waew was curious to see if the bioplastic could resist heat and steam, in an effort to continue to design the sauna cabin. 


Soap bioplastic -

How is it made?

In my conversation with Waew, we discussed all the different materials she used in making bioplastic. Specifically, bioplastic is made when one takes the sugar concentrate from the plant and uses as the main chemical to construct the plastic. The only other ingredients used, other than the respective plant, is glycerin, water, cornstarch and vinegar. Alternatively from what we may assume, bioplastic is quite simple to make at home. 

This is what Chef Waew has been doing for the past weeks. She has experimented with a white range of raw materials used to make bioplastic, producing wonderful colours and samples. Some of these ingredients include yellow curry, coffee grounds, soap, gelatin and potato starch. 

The range of colours is particularly beautiful and Waew is able to show how easy it is, in theory, to make bioplastic at home. However, she did encounter some problems in the drying stage. 

New Results 

After a couple of days, Waew checked on how the bioplastic was drying and found that most of them had been taken over by mould or had cracked from the drying process. She also wanted to make sure that the bioplastic would still hold when it comes in contact with water. Unfortunately, due to the cracking and the mould, Waew thought that it would be best to move on to another method of creating the fabric for the cabin. 

Her next step of this project was moving on to using rice and tofu paper, to see if this could allow her to cover the cabin with something.

Follow the next blog post with Chef Waew: Tofu, Bean curd or Ricepaper?