Simply ingenious

Female students invent edible packaging from old eggshells

28-Apr-2023 - Germany

Award-winning product from the University of Hohenheim: foil made from old eggshells is an impressive packaging for packet soups, can be eaten & provides valuable additional proteins

Ready meals such as ramen are ideal for quickly satisfying hunger: Open the bag, stir - done! At the same time, however, these quick snacks produce a lot of environmentally harmful plastic waste. To address this problem, the EDGGY team of students from the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart rolled up their sleeves - and developed edible packaging made from eggshells and other plant-based raw materials. The trick is that they simply dissolve in hot water - and can be eaten as an additional protein boost. For this sustainable and innovative idea, the five students received the prize for the most innovative idea at the EIT Food Reuse2Repack Challenge and prize money of EUR 1,200. Video of product & winning team:

Dry, the approx. 4 by 2 centimeter bag looks like normal plastic. But just a little hot water is enough, within seconds there is nothing left of it.

No environmentally harmful plastic waste when snacking. And "by using proteins, our packaging is even really healthy!" explains Lina Obeidat, who is studying for a master's degree in food science at the University of Hohenheim.

Obeidat came up with the brilliant idea while cooking with her mother: "We had also cracked eggs for our dish. At the moment when I was about to throw away the shells, the idea flashed through my mind: what protects the egg should also be good as packaging, right?"

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Universität Hohenheim/Oliver Reuther

Tasty-hip Asian noodles should be enriched with proteins instead of plastic waste - with this conviction, 5 female students from the University of Hohenheim developed an edible food foil made from recycled eggshells that simply dissolves in hot water. From left to right: Cora Schmetzer, Lina Obeidat, Bahar Abrishamchi, Paulina Welzenbach and Alena Fries

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Universität Hohenheim/Oliver Reuther

The name says it all: Eggshells and Cutting EDGE-Research

In her study module, Obeidat finds four comrades-in-arms who are infected by the idea. As Team EDGGY, Alena Fries, Bahar Abrishamchi, Paulina Welzenbach, Cora Schmetzer and Lina Obeidat compete in the EIT Food Solutions: Reuse2Repack Challenge. The competition is about developing a bio-based packaging solution from food waste.

Her idea and aspiration are reflected in her product name: Cutting EDGE-Research and the use of EGGs.

Of successes and setbacks: Experiencing Research - and Succeeding

However, it was to be another 9 months before success. "Before the first experiments, we first extensively crammed technical literature," recalls Alena Fries "The whole thing was definitely not a linear process. In the lab, we repeatedly checked our approach, adapted the methods and analyzed the results. For example, we experimented with starch once, but discarded it: The packaging simply became much too hard."

Or investigating the drying process: "When is it too wet, when is it too dry? So we constantly turned the cogs and examined each prototype for strengths and weaknesses - until we finally achieved the best result."

And it's ingeniously simple: "Our packaging consists of a simple mixture of vegetable protein, eggshells and structure-giving plasticizers such as water," explains Bahar Abrishamchi. "Nothing fancy or complicated - but it works."

From Challenge to own StartUp?

"Making this packaging material was a journey that was as rewarding as it was challenging," recalls Cora Schmelzer. "The Resuse2Repack Challenge allowed us to go through a research cycle while gaining our own entrepreneurial skills that can be applied in many different areas of life."

The Challenge is now over, EDGGY has won the prize for the most innovative idea and has already been honored for it in Rome in November. Does that mean the end of the product and the team? No, say all five. And Paulina Welzenbach adds, "Our product can and must still be improved, and we want to pursue that, maybe even found our own StartUp."

Nevertheless, they are already proud that "we at EDGGY have developed an idea that can reduce plastic waste. And we're excited to see what the future continues to hold for us."

Note: This article has been translated using a computer system without human intervention. LUMITOS offers these automatic translations to present a wider range of current news. Since this article has been translated with automatic translation, it is possible that it contains errors in vocabulary, syntax or grammar. The original article in German can be found here.

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