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Opaline Bone Glass Upcycling Slaughter Waste


In the midst of the "good upheaval" September has bestowed on us, with deign shows, festivals, showcases, talks and various releases all seemingly happening at once, THE HOME OF SUSTAINABLE THINGS [HOST] is delightfully obliged to bring its own perspective on design and unveil a new collaboration with the German design studio ELLA EINHELL.

Working at the intersection of material research and product design, the studio's most recent work revolves around the development of methods to upcycle by-products of the meat industry and animal bones in particular. Recognising the valuable, chemical properties of bones, the studio was able to develop a product range that upcycles bones, while incorporates industrial processes and traditional craft methods. The result is the roll out of a highly distinctive and sustainably superior collection of vases  now available at HOST.

Why Bones one might ask? Well, with annual waste of around 800000 tons, produced in Germany alone, slaughter waste - a by-product of the meat industry represents significant opportunities to replace finite, natural resources and transform substantial part of that waste into valuable objects. 

At current rates, only bones from industrial farms can make a profit. Organic farms with ethically justifiable animal husbandry do not slaughter enough to make the cleaning, sterilising and sorting of bones for further processing into gelatine profitable. As a result, bones of good, organic quality are incinerated and thus utterly wasted. In total, around 400000 tons of animal bones are burned in Germany each year. 

The design studio offers a partial solution to the issue by working directly with farms to receive and process bones into ash used to develop the highly distinctive opaline bone glass. Although the idea might sound somewhat unconventional, the studio actually reinvents a technique known to craftsmen since the 15th-century that was once used to imitate the making of porcelain.  

The opaline vase range is handblown using a paste of glass sludge [by-product from local glass production] and approximately 1kg of bones, sourced from an organic farm based just outside Berlin. Each bone vase has its unique translucent appearance that varies gently from one object to another.

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Opaline Bone Vase Range

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