Can we address
the issues of plastic pollution
and food insecurity,
through eachother?

Guilty Flavours, 2023
Graduation Project MA Material Futures

Our ever-increasing mountain of plastic waste is an insurmountable problem.
Plastic production is not decreasing and the current system of recycling is failing to keep up.

Guilty Flavours is a radical proposal for how humans can harness our own bodies as machines to eliminate plastic forever – by eating it. New biochemical processes like digestion enzymes allow humans to safely consume plastic. Starting with vanilla flavour, my research explores how we can harness this process to create fully edible molecules transformed by living organisms.
This work aims to disrupt habitual patterns of thinking, emphasizing that true progress lies not only in the outcomes but also in our mindset. It challenges us to question whether we, as humans, are ready to compromise our eating habits to contribute to a more resilient and harmonious world.

The display of the ice cream in a locked freezer symbolizes the need for food testing, highlighting the time-consuming nature of evaluating the plastic-derived ingredient: in fact, despite its chemical similarity to vanillin, whether natural or synthetic, the testing process is still lengthy as considered a completely new ingredient. This underscores the urgency for finding innovative solutions and rapid change in our society to address pressing environmental issues.
By presenting this challenge, the work urges us to actively seek transformative approaches for a more sustainable future.

Joanna Sadler, Research Scientist, The University of Edinburgh
Dr Hamid Ghoddusi, Food scientist, London Metropolitan University
Paula Corsini, Science Specialist, Grow Lab CSM