the feat of Japanese scientists

Walls made of orange peels? A team of scientists from the University of Tokyo “developed a concrete-like building material from food waste”, tells this Friday, June 3 the British daily The Times, for whom this discovery “heralds a future where people will be able to build houses from recycled banana peels and can eat them if need be”.

Orange peels or banana skins, therefore, but also coffee grounds, tea leaves, onions, pumpkins or seaweed have been tested by these scientists. And it’s “the humble cabbage [qui] turned out to be the most impressive of all”, note The Times : “It gave birth to a material that is even stronger than conventional concrete.”

Kota Machida, one of the two researchers behind this discovery, explains that he wanted to save these fruits and vegetables from the fate that is generally reserved for them: the trash.

“We think they deserve another life.”

First dried and reduced to powder, the plant waste is then hot pressed in a mould. “The materials thus obtained are of variable quality but most have a higher resistance than that of concrete”, notice The Times. Only the pumpkin fell short.

According to Kota Machida, “a plate made from Chinese cabbage can support a weight of 30 kilos”. For now, only plates have been produced. “But researchers think that, coated in lacquer to repel hungry rodents, this material could be used to construct buildings,” writing The Times.

In 2014, in Japan, 6 million tons of food damaged during transport were thrown away, as well as 21 million tons of waste and leftovers. Globally, the World Food Program estimates $1 trillion in food lost each year. “Food-based concrete is biodegradable and can, therefore, be buried when no longer in use, explains the newspaper. And if it is crushed and mixed with water, it will become edible again.”

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