Edible Packaging – While putting tea bags into the green bin is a real step forward from just dumping them into the garbage, we may be able to avoid the waste issue altogether in the future with new dissolvable materials that allow us to consume packaging along with products.
Monosol has designed tasteless water soluble packets of hot chocolate, fruit drink and oatmeal. They look exactly like the familiar plastic packets we know today. Drop one of these packets of product in water, wait for it to dissolve and consume. With this technology one could avoid the waste and recycle cycle completely.
Another angle on the same idea, Wiki Cells edible membrane uses food particles connected “by electrostatic charges to each other and to a small amount of natural polymer” to put a casing around food. As an example, they have yogurt inside an edible membrane in the manner of a parmesan or goat cheese kind of skin. To consume, one cuts through the skin to access the interior and then one can eat the ‘rind’ or ‘peel’ as well. If you happen to be in Paris, you could try it out at the Lab Store Paris.
This may take some time to catch on with consumers and get past their health concerns, but could result in real waste savings on many fronts.
Dining e-Tickets – As restaurants work on slim margins rendering no-shows as a big hit to the bottom line, some restaurants are moving away from reservations to e-ticketing schemes. Under this setup, potential diners buy tickets for a time slot at a restaurant – just like a theatre performance. If they don’t show, the restaurant is not out profit for the night as the tickets are non-refundable. Like theatre or sports events, perhaps we can expect potential scalping, online trading systems. There are also potentially new revenue streams for operators like OpenTable.
OLED lighting – Advances in OLED lighting provide some potentially incredible impacts on design of stores and technology in future. Check out the article and incredible video of an Audi concept vehicle to get the full effect.