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Building with bananas

Organic waste that would otherwise be clogging up landfill sites could be used to produce building materials for the construction industry, a new report claims.

The technology is already in play to take bits from peanuts, rice, bananas and potatoes and transform them into products including insulating materials, partition boards, acoustic absorbers – and more.

“As one of the world’s largest users of resources we need to move away from our ‘take, use, dispose’ mentality. There are already pockets of activity, with some producers making lower-CO2 building products from organic materials. What we need now is for the industry to come together to scale up this activity so that it enters the mainstream. An important first step is to work with government to rethink construction codes and regulations to consider waste as a resource, opening up the opportunity to repurpose it on an industrial-scale, ” said Guglielmo Carra, the Europe Materials Consulting Lead, for Arup – the company which produced the report

The international team of designers, engineers, consultants and technical specialists at Arup work ‘across every aspect of today’s built environment’ and the company believes organic waste offers huge opportunities for the construction industry and the environment.

“Organic waste from our cities and the coutryside, traditionally managed through landfill, incineration and composting could be diverted – at least in part – to become a resource for the creation of construction engineering and architecture products before being fed back in the biological cycle at the end of their service life,” the report says.

The full report: Urban Bio-Loop: Growing, Making and Regenerating is available here.

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