Studio Nienke Hoogvliet succeeded in transforming wastewater into bioplastic, effectively creating a sustainable cremation urn.
During Dutch Design Week this year, the Dutch Water Authorities shared a method to create plastic derived from wastewater. Polyhydroxyalkanoate, or PHA, is the bioplastic that may be produced from the bacteria found in sewage water, making for a unique new material.
As compared to regular plastic, the bioplastic has similar properties, but biodegrades more closely in composition to wood. Since soil processes nutrients at different rates, especially if the soil quality is rich, poor or fertilized, the studio created three different types of urns that biodegrade at different rates. As Hoogvliet says: "The release of nutrients and toxins can be regulated by the shape of the urn—a solid shape will take longer to degrade than a slender shape."