Students at the National Taiwan University of Arts made popsicles from sewage water

By Food & Wine Staff
Updated February 13, 2018
Credit: Photo by Karen M. Romanko via getty images

Beware: These popsicles are not your usual beat-the-heat-at-the-beach summer treat. Their origins might actually put you off from eating, in fact. QZ reports that three inventive art students at the National Taiwan University of Arts named Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Cheng Yu-ti, bravely collected sewage water around Taiwan to create what they called “Water Pollution Popsicles.”

Hung and her classmates scavenged through 100 places in the country, actually looking for waste on purpose. Along their probably incredibly smelly and messy travels, they collected bugs, mud, dirt, and just plain old trash, eventually placing their findings in the freezer to create the popsicles—though we don’t recommend trying to taste these faux desserts.

The pollution popsicles were an art project for school, and though most people might consider their origins unsavory, the finished product is actually quite visually arresting. Some of popsicles are flecked with red and gold, while another took on a deep purple hue. Others came out in appetizing shades of green, turquoise, and rosy-toned orange, or look as though they were frozen along with dried flowers.

The enterprising students also designed colorful wrappers for their popsicles, and assigned each one a name based on where the sewage samples were found.

Although these popsicles are definitely not for eating, in America many companies have already come up with a more practical version of this idea. In fact, the number of startups that want to make food out of waste has gone up 500 percent since 2011. For instance, one such company called Imperfect Produce, buys and resells fruit and vegetables that are deemed too “ugly” for American produce.

These pollution popsicles might be too gross to eat, but the trend of eating trash is clearly here to stay. Who knows, maybe this isn’t the last we’ve seen of waste-based desserts.