In London, industrial design studio Morrama has developed a prototype rapid test for COVID-19 that is biodegradable and recyclable. They hope the design will encourage test manufacturers to reduce the amount of plastics in at-home COVID-19 tests.
Dubbed Eco-Flo, the concept test kits are made of recyclable paper pulp and reduces the wasteful leaflets and nasal swabs in the kits being used today.
The Morrama team proposes using saliva, which is backed up by research suggesting saliva might be a better testing vehicle for Omicron than nasal mucus. The user would just spit into a “saliva dish” and press the sample into an absorbent pad. The test strip would also be easier for the user to decipher.
Jo Barnard, the studio’s founder and creative director, says at-home COVID-19 tests should be low-cost, but not at the expense of the environment. “We can’t save people’s lives and simultaneously affect them later [on] with global warming,” she tells Fast Company. “We know these kinds of things happen, so let’s be prepared for them next time, so we can just roll it out.”