Redistributing cosmetically imperfect produce via grocery and restaurant services is one way to keep food out of landfills. Turning those cosmetically imperfect fruits and veggies into actual cosmetics is another method, and one Spanish designer Júlia Roca Vera is taking with her Lleig skincare line.
Dezeen, a website covering all things design, profiled the process Vera used to make four different skincare products from a single piece of fruit, in this case an orange that was discarded because it was cosmetically unacceptable by supermarket standards. From that orange, Vera, who is currently a design and engineering student, created moisturizer, a soap, a potpourri, and a juice for drinking.
Lleig (Catalan for “ugly”) is as much a conceptual design project as it is a skincare line, with products coming in reusable clay containers and the suggestion to complete certain rituals during the skincare process. Vera worked with Espigoladors, a social enterprise that “rescues” cosmetically imperfect produce, to source the food used for the project. While she focused on an orange, she told Dezeen that her process would also work will apples, bananas, carrots, and other fruits and vegetables.
There’s no way to purchase Lleig right now, as it’s more design statement than scalable product at the moment. The larger point of the project is to raise awareness about why we throw certain foods away as well as what can be done with those items instead of tossing them in the landfill. Vera told Dezeen that she “hopes to encourage a holistic approach to beauty that prioritises health and wellbeing over external appearance.” That goes for humans and produce items alike.
In the U.S., rescuing cosmetically “unfit” produce is still a fairly new area of the food industry, with its main players companies like Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods that sell this rescued food as discounted groceries. Whether skincare made from food waste every becomes a scalable notion remains to be seen. However, the idea does give us one more reason to keep food out of the landfill.