These days, we’re ordering takeout and a lot of it. Part convenience, part laziness, takeout gives some much-needed variety with the monotony of cooking every meal during the pandemic. With this surge in popularity, Forest & Whale, a multidisciplinary design practice that focuses on products, circular systems, and future envisioning, hope to combat single-use plastic’s harmful impact on the environment with Reuse, a single-use food container that can either be composted in cities with available corresponding facilities or eaten.

Gustavo Maggio and Wendy Chua co-founded Forest & Whale as a means to explore the world of design and its relationship with the environment, along with our own human behavior and living experiences. Made from wheat husk for its base and PHA for the lid, Reuse serves as a fully compostable food container that not only amplifies our experience consuming takeout food but creates a conversation around our high-consumption habits and the negative effect they have on our environment. Wheat husk and PHA, a bacteria-based composite that works like a natural plastic derived from organic materials, can both be composted as food waste, without additional industrial-level composting facilities. The usability of Reuse hinges on its simple decomposition and accessible construction processes, appeals for large cities and small towns alike to adopt this form of containing takeout food. Similar to the paper straw revolution we’ve seen come to fruition almost overnight, the takeout industry could quickly adapt to swapping out their plastic containers for biodegradable and compostable ones like Reuse.

While single-use plastic containers are convenient and quick to get rid of, they leave a startling impact on the environment. Accounting for their low-recyclability rate, plastic takeout containers stick around for ages, running off into waterways and polluting the oceans, spreading toxins to wildlife, releasing harmful chemicals and gases into the air we breathe, and generally disrupting our waste management systems. Maggio and Chua of Forest & Whale designed Reuse to take some of the pressure off our planetary responsibility and health. With hopes of entirely replacing single-use plastic containers with compostable and edible takeout bins, Reuse marks the initial steps towards a worthwhile goal.

Designer: Forest & Whale

Made from wheat husk and PHA, Reuse single-use food containers are fully compostable and edible.

Reuse food containers fully decompose in nature within one to three months, minimizing their end-of-life impact.

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