Luf: A Sustainable Solution for Seedling Trays

Revolutionizing Seedling Cultivation with Biodegradable Loofah Trays

In China's rural revitalization strategy, the demand for agricultural production has increased, resulting in a surge in crop residues. The Industrial Design College of LAFA has responded to this challenge by developing Luf, a groundbreaking solution for seedling trays made from biodegradable loofah.

Luf stands out from traditional plastic seedling trays by adopting a circular design approach. It breaks the linear "cradle to grave" model and embraces a more sustainable "cradle to cradle" concept. By utilizing loofah, a highly productive and biodegradable material, Luf offers a unique solution that aligns with the principles of the circular economy.

The design process involves crushing the loofah and combining it with a natural adhesive made from glutinous rice. The resulting material is then hot-pressed to create sturdy and functional seedling trays. Luf trays can be stacked vertically, allowing a single person to carry more than five trays at a time. Once the seedlings have matured, they can be transplanted directly into the soil, where the trays will naturally decompose, enriching the soil with nutrients.

With dimensions of 800mm x 490mm x 70mm, Luf seedling trays are designed to accommodate various vegetable seedlings. The hole plate measures 540mm x 280mm, with options ranging from 50 to 288 holes. The shape of the holes can be round or square, with diameters typically between 0.6mm and 1.2mm.

The Luf design team, consisting of Du Heli, Jia Zhuohang, and Xue Bomu, meticulously researched and tested the materials and manufacturing process. They prepared a loofah fiber mixture with bio-based green adhesive, curing agent, and ethanol diluent. The mixture was then heated and pressed in a mold to create the final product. Extensive testing was conducted to ensure load-bearing capacity, water resistance, stretchability, and degradation.

Luf's innovative approach to seedling trays not only addresses the pressing issue of agricultural waste but also contributes to the rural revitalization strategy. By establishing a closed cycle metabolic process of "production-recovery-remanufacture," Luf promotes a sustainable and efficient system for seedling cultivation. The trays can be easily transported, reused, and ultimately returned to nature.

The Luf project, initiated in May 2022 and completed in January 2023 at Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts, showcases the potential of loofah as a versatile and eco-friendly material. The team overcame creative, technical, and research challenges to integrate loofah into the design of seedling trays, ensuring functionality while adhering to sustainable design principles.

Luf has received recognition for its outstanding design. It was awarded the Iron A' Design Award in the Sustainable Products, Projects, and Green Design category in 2023. This prestigious award acknowledges Luf's practicality, innovation, and adherence to professional and industrial requirements. The design's integration of industry best practices and competent technical characteristics contributes to a better world.

With Luf, the Industrial Design College of LAFA has demonstrated the power of sustainable design in addressing agricultural waste and promoting rural development. By harnessing the potential of loofah, Luf offers a practical and eco-friendly solution for seedling cultivation, contributing to a more sustainable future.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Wenkai Xue
Image Credits: Image #1: Designer Du Heli, Jia Zhuohang and Xue Bomu, Luf, 2023 Image #2: Designer Du Heli, Jia Zhuohang and Xue Bomu, Luf, 2023 Image #3: Designer Du Heli, Jia Zhuohang and Xue Bomu, Luf, 2023 Image #4: Designer Du Heli, Jia Zhuohang and Xue Bomu, Luf, 2023 Image #5: Designer Du Heli, Jia Zhuohang and Xue Bomu, Luf, 2023
Project Team Members: Designer: Du Heli Designer: Jia Zhuohang Designer: Xue Bomu
Project Name: Luf
Project Client: Wenkai Xue

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