Finalist 2019

Lettuce Eat

Maddison Ryder

Lettuce Eat explores food waste and throw away culture through a series of plates developed and designed from dehydrated lettuce.

The pieces act not to discourage an impermanent sense of consumption, but rather, encourage consumption of 100 percent sustainable and natural single use objects, while removing the need for plastic alternatives.

Design Excellence

41% of food waste within Melbourne is due to the consumer directly (Sheridan, Carey & Candy, 2016) and of these wasters, high income households produce the most food waste (Hamilton, Denniss & Baker, 2005). Therefore, the piece must be a desirable, high-quality material and design to suit this demographic. Through use of the plates, consumers are educated on the materiality of the product, which highlights the value of food waste materials in an attempt to alter perceptions on waste. Installing value within these wasted materials, the project acts as a catalyst to reduce food waste in the first place.

Design Impact

The pieces have exceeded the brief to alter perceptions of waste, and have also addressed the following:
1. Reduces food waste directly by utilising waste lettuce from supermarkets as a resource material
2. Provides a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic, paper and some biodegradable/compostable products
3. Provides additional income for farmers through the sale of wasted produce
4. By utilising food waste, no additional land and energy is needed for the products raw resource
5. No additional water is used in the production of Lettuce Eat products, as the water from the lettuce leaves is utilised
8. 100% compostable

Design Transformation

In addition to the sustainable aspects of Lettuce Eat, the abundance of lettuce waste material makes this product a viable business proposition. Australia wastes an estimated 4,474 tonnes of lettuce waste annually from only major supermarkets Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and IGA. This waste would generate over 1 million lettuce plates. Further development will allow other food waste materials to be utilised, thus having an exponentially larger impact on reducing food sent to landfill. By replacing single-use plastic and paper with Lettuce Eat products, it will act to reduce deforestation for paper production and reduce the number of permanent plastics.

Design Innovation

Lettuce Eat is an aesthetic product with an important message. Crafted only from waste lettuce the products are completely compostable to ensure a closed looped system. Lettuce Eat is also a truly sustainable alternative to paper, plastic and some bio-plastic single-use products as there is no confusion come disposal. The lettuce material is coated with a mix of bees wax and linseed oil for water resistance, but breaks down in 20 minutes when submerged into water which supports the life of a single-use product. This element ensures a completely closed loop system and doesn't act to 'greenwash' its market.

Student Design 2019 Finalists



Reclaiming Accessibility to Lower-Limb Prosthetics

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

Gecko Traxx

Ryan Tilley / Gecko Traxx

Levity – Wake Up To Racism

Lois Vergel / Swinburne University of Technology

Madame X

Yuchen Gao


Matt Caldar / Lauren Garner / Olivia Potter / Will Muhleisen and Courtney Brown / Office

Ntaria Design

Nicola St John / Ntaria Design

Uncomfortable Immersion

Chloe Marcela Coelho

Inclusive Classroom Furniture

Foursight Architects

Food Delta

An Ni / Cheng Jie / Huang JiaRong / Kuo Po-Hsuan / Zhai QingYun

Pinch Sea Salt

RMIT University

The Tower of Two Cities

Jack Jordan / Paris Gazzola / RMIT University


Neal Kaldor / Stella Qingquing Yang / Temitope Adesina / Tutor - Alisa Andrasek & Joshua Lye / RMIT University