by Jack Shaw
Andrea Ruggiero brings green design to the backyard BBQ with his disposable UFO (Unidentified Feeding Object) Plate that's reborn as a birdfeeder after use—a concept he originally came up with as part of InDisposed, a recent exhibition centered around rethinking disposable products.
Taking on the challenge of creating an environmentally-friendly disposable household object, the NYC-based designer looked back to his childhood in Italy where disposable products are described as, "usa e getta," which literally translates as "use and throw." This natural action served as the main idea behind the UFO.
Made from potato starch, guar bean gum and a seaweed-like binding agent, the stylish nine-inch diameter plates take the form of a disc shaped shell encrusted with birdseed on the bottom. In use, the UFO stands up to liquids and acidic foods and is nontoxic and vegan. When diners finish their meal, the fun begins; just find a tree, aim the tableware-cum-frisbee and let it fly. As the plate shatters it leaves behind a little treat for the local wildlife and the solid parts biodegrade in about two weeks.
Picnickers and birds will have to wait for the two-in-one plate, however; the UFO is currently only in the prototype stage.