A team of scientists from University of Tokyo discovered how to turn food waste into sturdy building materials that retain their edible nature. Sprayed banana peels, cabbage leaves and seaweed have been used to create materials that have the strength of concrete.
Lead author of the study Yuya Sakai is a specialist in sustainable building materials and a professor at the Institute of Industrial Sciences at the University of Tokyo.
“Our goal was to use algae and food scraps to build materials at least as strong as concrete,” said Professor Sakai. âBut since we were using edible food waste, we also wanted to determine if the recycling process had an impact on the flavor of the original materials. ”
Experts tested a hot pressing technique used to compress wood powder into building materials. Instead of wood, the team sprayed a variety of vacuum-dried food waste, including onion and banana peels.
According to the researchers, the processing technique was to mix the food powder with water and seasonings, then press the mixture into a mold at high temperature.
âWith the exception of the pumpkin-derived specimen, all of the materials exceeded our target for flexural strength,â said study co-author Kota Machida. “We also found that Chinese cabbage leaves, which produced a material more than three times stronger than concrete, could be mixed with the weaker pumpkin material to provide effective reinforcement.”
The World Food Program estimates that a third of the world’s food is wasted each year, valued at $ 1,000 billion. With this in mind, the researchers said it was crucial to develop methods for recycling food waste.
Experts noted that since the new materials are strong enough for construction projects while still being edible, there could be a number of creative applications from this research.
The study is published by The Society of Materials Science from Japan.
Through Chrissy sexton, Terre.com Editor-in-chief