London engineering firm sees food waste as the building material of the future


In London, engineering and design firm Arup has released a report on how common organic materials—including potato, banana, and peanut waste—can be repurposed as building materials.

Potatoes can be used as insulation and peanuts processed into partition boards, Arup says.  Mushroom “bricks” can be grown, while microalgae can be cultivated into “facades,” it adds.

The report notes that the global construction industry is one of the largest users of raw materials, and that cement alone accounts for 5% of carbon emissions.

“We need to move away from our ‘take, use, dispose’ mentality,” Guglielmo Carra, European lead for materials consulting at Arup, said in a statement to Thomas Reuters Foundation. “What we need now is for the industry to come together to scale up this activity so that it enters the mainstream.”