Bio-balloon: An Awareness Generating Tool to Help Mitigate Single-use-Plastic


A balloon is commonly described and perceived as a membrane-enclosed gas or liquid vessel. However, more than its physical dimension, it is a cultural manifestation and is one of the most universal and significant objects of celebration/rituals. It has been used as a tool to promote social and cultural solidarity, strengthen identities, foster cooperation and motivations, as well as catalyzing public education through play. All this is true, until they drift away, explode and break into pieces that eventually become part of this hyperobject known as plastic-pollution - afterall what goes up must come down - and when they do, these artifacts are most likely to end up scattered all around, harming these ecosystems in many ways. Being among the 10 most commonly single-use-plastic items found on USA and European beaches, they contribute strongly to the mortality of wildlife, seeing that “soft-plastics” make up 40% of these casualties. This paper presents the process of setting-up and implementing a workshop that incentivizes children of local low-income communities to create do-it-yourself bio-based balloons that contribute to generate awareness to this endeavor, and, at the same time, help express themselves as individuals and voice their frustrations. The effort is the continuation of work developed by a group of industrial design and bioengineering students as a response to the Biodesign Challenge 2022 for catalyzing systemic change through design. This workshop intends to be the physical materialization that translates all the material exploration and theoretical ideation done previously into a concrete tangible bio-balloon.


Raul Pinto
Lecturer, Industrial Design, Izmir University of Economics, Turkey

Derya Irkdas Dogu
Lecturer, Industrial Design, İzmir University of Economics, Turkey


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Design in Society


Bio-balloon, Applied Workshop, Diy

Digital Media

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