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Rose-coloured bioplastic crafted from chickpea water

21 Aug 2019
By Anna Marks

Berlin-based designer Paula Nerlich has crafted a unique biomaterial from chickpeas.


The material is derived from aquafaba — a viscous liquid produced when legumes such as chickpeas are cooked. Aquafaba is a starch-based product consisting of proteins, carbohydrates and other soluble plant solids that have migrated from the chickpeas to the water solution during the cooking process. The product is often used in vegan recipes as its starchy and gloopy consistency mimics the binding element found in egg whites. 


To make the material, Nerlich combines the aquafaba with other (secret) ingredients before moulding the material into her desired form. Although Nerlich shapes the material by hand, the material has the potential to be 3D printed. 


Nerlich’s bioplastic material is vegan, naturally rose-coloured and fully biodegradable (when placed in compost). Nerlich can alter the bioplastic’s flexibility depending on thickness, and it can be used in a number of applications instead of PVC-based plastic e.g. tableware and interior design objects. 


Currently, Nerlich is looking for industrial collaborators to further develop her manufacturing process. 


Nerlich is exhibiting her material at Open Cell's 'Biodesign Here Now' exhibition for London Design Festival, 2019. To view more about her work, visit her website or her Instagram page