Egg-citing project for student Martina

Martina Zupan is using eggshells to make a range of disposable tableware.
Martina Zupan is using eggshells to make a range of disposable tableware.
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It’s the food stuff that is traditionally enjoyed scrambled, poached, boiled or fried.

But eggs could soon be appearing on tables in a way never seen before thanks to the work of one Napier University student.

Martina Zupan, a fourth year product design student, has struck upon the cracking idea of using eggshells to make a range of disposable tableware.

The 26 year-old has designed and produced a product called ‘Colleggtion’ – a disposable circular plate with tearaway cutlery made from waste eggshells. It was one of hundreds of exhibits at Napier’s More Than A Degree Show.

The designer has developed a process that allows waste eggshells to be formed into products. This process is currently patent pending and Martina believes her tableware could help highlight the opportunities that upcycling waste eggshells can bring.

Martina said: “The idea literally came to me one day as I was making scrambled eggs in the house and after some extensive research I found that despite eggshells carrying a range of beneficial components, very little was actually being done to upcycle waste product.

“I tested eggshell powder in a range of formats – including adding it to muffins, into plaster for egg cups and even cement and other resins but it was the tableware idea that really caught my imagination.

“I worked closely with research teams at the university who had some leftover raw materials from various experiments that they were happy for me to use. I started testing it with the eggshells and things fell into place from there.

“I think I’ve managed to produce a sophisticated product with the potential to highlight a new method of producing sustainable tableware and cutlery – it’s been really exciting to work on.”

Martina’s idea was sparked by becoming dismayed at the lack of recycling options for by-products in the food industry meaning potentially beneficial components such as calcium carbonate were simply being lost in landfill.

She said:“ I’ve been careful to ensure that nothing goes to waste throughout the process. I’ve even tried using waste food material to dye my tableware in certain colours – there is so much scope to be creative with food waste.

“Very few know of the benefits that eggshells can bring to the environment. With this project, eggshell waste could not only be prevented and reduced, but eggshells would be recycled into a valuable product. Being fully compostable means the tableware can be disposed of together with food waste, which will then be, with the help of anaerobic digestion, turned into biogases which act as a source of green energy as well as nutrient-rich bio-fertiliser. It has massive potential.

“I’d love to continue the development of the tableware after my time at university comes to an end. Ideally I’d like to work with like-minded investors who could help commercialise the patent pending process further – it would be great to get some help and support to fully get the product up and running and onto kitchen tables.”