International design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati, in partnership with Eni, has developed an experimental Circular Juice Bar that uses oranges to make bioplastic, turns it into filament, and 3D prints disposable cups to drink the freshly-squeezed juice. Called “Feel the Peel,” the prototype has been on a tour of public places around Italy to demonstrate a new approach to environmental circularity in daily life.
The product is a 3.10-meter tall orange squeezer machine that is topped by a dome filled with up to 1,500 oranges. When someone orders a juice, oranges slide down into the squeezer and as each orange is cut in half – its peel falls into the lower part where they accumulate. Through a process of drying, milling, and mixing with Polylactic Acid (PLA) – peels become a bioplastic. This bioplastic is then heated and melted into a filament that is used by a 3D printer incorporated into the machine. The resulting cups can be used to drink the freshly-squeezed juice and then recycled.
“The principle of circularity is a must for today’s objects,” said Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA and director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Working with Eni, we tried to show circularity in a very tangible way, by developing a machine that helps us to understand how oranges can be used well beyond their juice. The next iterations of ‘Feel the Peel’ might include new functions, such as printing fabric for clothing from orange peels.”
Visitors to the “Feel the Peel” installments can first-hand experience the 3D printing process, with the concentric layering of the filament building their cup right in front of them.
Projects like these promote three things: new technologies like 3D printing, healthy lifestyles (freshly squeezed juice) and recycling. And those are three things many city officials would like to see in the municipalities they serve. So why not be among the first ones to do so? The automatic juice bar installation can't be that expensive and placing it in a prominent place like a city hall could tell a compelling story. And it's the story of a modern city that embraces modern technologies and waste management while offering healthy drinks to its citizens. Can't help but love it. ;)
A company could contact the team behind this juice bar to import it to its own municipality. It could first be placed in some public areas (or just one) to gather interest and eventually pitched to local officials. The pitch would include all the popular phrases like recycling and new technologies that should entice that official to buy more of these devices — and eventually place them in a city hall and other prominent places. Yes, that means sales for your business.