Cassava Stem Core
Sustainability & Industrial DesignFrom the Artist:
“I was inspired by the omnipresent shapes and texture of styrofoam. By representing this ubiquity, it is clear that the Cassava Stem Core alternative to this non-biodegradable and toxin-leaching material would have significant impact. It is always intriguing to envision something so common becoming extinct, and even more so considering our over-reliance on the material.”
—Sarah von der Luft
Malaysian scientist Norain Kambali wanted to find a replacement for the widely used Polystyrene. Polystyrene is used for thermal insulation in food storage, but because food can absorb the chemicals, use of the substance can make foods toxic and unhealthy. In addition to health concerns it is not biodegradable, 100% of Polystyrene ends up in land fills.
To find a replacement for Polystyrene, Norain researched various plant materials and found that the middle part or pith of a Cassava tree is a perfect substitute. The soft, sponge-like material is biodegradable and non-toxic. Trees can be planted and harvested like any crop, and this finding could help the world lower their reliance on petroleum-based polystyrene.
Sarah von der Luft is a graphic and industrial designer based in New York City. Sarah received a Masters of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute and a B.A. in Government from Smith College. She has been working as an Industrial Designer for 6 years and her work has been exhibited at Wanted Design and Model Citizens.