A recent national study by environmental and public health nonprofit the Natural Resources Defense Council showed that nearly 40 percent of the food available to Americans goes uneaten. That’s about $165 billion worth of food trashed annually. How to stop the waste? Industrial design students in Professor Frederick Kuhn’s summer studio course tasked with solving this riddle found answers in the farm and in the fridge—and everywhere in between. —DAN MORRELL
Problem: People would respect food more and waste less if they grew it—but those living in urban settings have limited access to farming space.
Solution: An aquarium-based food production system: water circulates between a fish tank and a tray of plants, providing nutrient-rich fish waste to the plants and using less than 10 percent of the water of a typical garden. (Sarah Fox, BIND ’13, and Greg Ordway, BIND ’13)
Problem: 87 percent of consumers aren’t aware of the issue of food waste.
Solution: A passive, long-term approach: a children’s iPad case, app, and kitchen tool set—packaged and sold in toy stores—that gets kids interested in cooking meals while teaching them the value of food. (Colby Higgins, BIND ’13)
Problem: Bought with the best intentions, more than half of all fruits and vegetables American households buy go to waste.
Solution: A wall-mounted modular rack system that keeps the fruit stable, visible, and accessible. (Bailey Giles, BIND ’13, and Jared Neely, BIND ’13)
Problem: Our current refrigerators contribute to food waste, with poor visibility, unnecessary space, and inefficient technology.
Solution: Smaller refrigerators will encourage less long-term storage—and less spoilage—while consuming less energy. (Stefano Giuliani, BIND ’13)
Problem: Composting food waste can be impractical for city-dwelling consumers.
Solution: An indoor composter that doubles as a food prep table. Perfect for urban settings where space and materials are scarce. (Alyssa Molinaro, BIND ’13)