When you no longer want the “Bite Me” desk lamp designed by Victor Vetterlein, it doesn’t have to end up in the trash. Made from plant-based plastic, the lamp can be composted, or if you’re brave, it can actually be cleaned and eaten. It tastes like Gummy Bears, according to the designer. But do we actually want edible furniture?
Sustainable product design usually aims to match the length of time you’d use something; a well-designed lamp could be used for a lifetime or even passed down through generations, like the classic mid-century lamps some people are lucky enough to inherit from parents or grandparents. The Bite Me lamp is going in the other direction, encouraging disposability and (literally) encouraging consumption.
Vetterlein also doesn’t explain what happens to the LED light strip attached to the lamp, which has to be peeled off before the lamp body gets eaten or composted. The electronics are the part of the lamp that really shouldn’t go in the trash, and the part that takes the most energy to make.
Still, while the Bite Me lamp might not be perfect, the material it uses is pretty cool. The biodegradable plastic in the lamp body is created from vegetable glycerin and a sea algae-derived gelatin called agar. Agar is actually healthy, Vetterlein told Dezeen—it’s a good source of folic acid, iron, vitamin E, and other nutrients.
Could edible plastic be a perfect fit for a product that's intended to be temporary?
Images via Victor Vetterlein