Ellon will be integrated above the current condiment unit in the common dining areas, such as fast food restaurant, café, school dining area and office kitchen. By using this device, the behavior of carrying personal utensil is appreciated in public.
We designed Ellon while considering sustainability as a dynamic concept since the availability and efficiency of the material is ever-changing. We are not trying to invent a new utensil or discover a new material but designed a simple solution for this very moment that doesn't cost much environmentally, and once dated, not a burden to abandon as well. We also believe “Fun” is good enough an incentive to induce people to start a new habit. So we borrowed the form and mechanism of a typical electrical pencil sharpener, the fun and fidgeting “in and out” action, is our key design point for easy adaption and a shorter learning curve.
Ellon has two parts: a washer and an adjoining box, together serving as a transitional design that assists and guides our behavior. The instant washer is compatible with many different types of utensils, and the adjoining box behind limits access to the disposable utensil on the left side, showing the reusable silverware in the middle and enhance the visual focus of the new utensil washing device which is suitable for both provided silverware and self-carried ones. We design the instant washer using only one motor to control both the pump and the rotation needed to wash the utensils. In consideration of hygiene, the inner brushes are attached to a removable cup for easy sanitation and replacement.
The most challenging part of designing Ellon is to decide how we should approach this disposable utensil problem. Because the result can be achieved through many different approaches: education, redesigning the system or even discovering a new biodegradable material. Through our research and observation, we find most people who have a choice to use silverware will do so, however, the amount of silverware offered in a restaurant is often limited and the process of manually taking them back to kitchen, washing and sending out is extremely time-consuming, particularly during the peak hours. If the clean silverware cannot be replaced on time, the plastic utensils will then be offered again as a backup. That's why plastic utensils became a recurring issue. So we decided to approach this issue on top of the behavioral change and designed Ellon from the perspective of what's feasible in the next few months, with consideration of easy adaption and low cost. The current prototype we have is a water-based washing device, the cleaning cycle starts with pumping up water to the top, using rotation to wipe out the grease and finally drain the wastewater to the bottom container.
We designed Ellon with a goal of finding a simple way for everyone to adopt a habit and live more sustainability, and we want people's good intentions and actions to be noticed and cheered in public. Carrying our own utensil isn't new, but difficult to execute daily because of our fast-paced lifestyle and the facilities around are not designed for us to do so. To carry our own utensils, we also need a protection case, dish soap, and cloth. Moreover, the most discouraging part is when good practice is not considered a "cool" effect to many. Therefore, we want to change that, through Ellon. The only way one can experience the fun of using Ellon is by carrying one's own utensil. With Ellon installed in the common space, everywhere, carrying utensils no longer need extra care, they can be put in the pocket, along with pens and wallet. Whenever ready to eat, insert utensils in the washer, within seconds they are sanitized and ready to be used.
Design by Jay Qian & Sean Wang