Scientists turn food scraps such as banana peels, seaweed and cabbage leaves into building materials that are ‘at least as strong as concrete’
- Researchers in Japan have come up with a way to convert food waste, such as banana peels or cabbage leaves, into building products for construction
- They used a ‘hot pressing’ concept that converts wood powder into building materials
- They adjusted that by using vacuum-dried food scraps instead and mixing the food powder with water, spices and setting it to a temperature to test the strength, taste, smell and appearance.
- All materials exceeded the researchers’ strength goals, except for pumpkins
- Chinese cabbage leaves ‘produced a material three times stronger than concrete’
- The material was not adversely affected by rot, fungi or insects and there were no ‘noticeable changes’ in appearance or taste after four months of exposure to air
- The World Food Program estimates that one third of the world’s food is wasted each year, or $ 1 trillion
Researchers in Japan have deciphered a way to use food waste, such as banana peels or cabbage leaves, and turn it into building products for construction.
A team from the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo looked at all kinds of food waste and used a ‘hot-pressing’ concept often used to convert wood powder into building materials.
However, they used vacuum-dried food scraps and mixed the food powder with water, spices and set it to a temperature high enough to then test the strength and monitor the taste, smell and appearance of the mixture.
“ Our goal was to use seaweed and common food scraps to make materials that were at least as strong as concrete, ” said Yuya Sakai, the study’s senior author, in a statement. statement.
University of Tokyo researchers used food waste such as banana peels and cabbage leaves to create building products strong enough to use in construction
It is estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of the food in the US is wasted annually, or about 20 pounds per month
All materials exceeded the researchers’ target for flexural strength, except for the pumpkins
“But because we used edible food waste, we were also interested in determining whether the recycling process affected the flavor of the original materials.”
The findings will be published in The 70th Annual Meeting of The Society of Materials Science, Japan as ‘Development of Novel Construction Material from Food Waste’.
One of the study’s co-authors, Kota Machida, said all materials exceeded their “ target flexural strength ” except for the pumpkins.
Also notable was the strength of Chinese cabbage leaves, which Machida added ‘produced a material more than three times stronger than concrete’.
When the cabbage leaves were mixed with the pumpkin-based material, there was an “effective amplification” that satisfied the researchers.
Surprisingly, the newly recycled food scraps retained most of their flavor, the researchers found.
When spices such as salt or sugar were added to improve the taste, the strength was not reduced.
The material was also remarkably not adversely affected by rot, fungi or insects and there were no ‘noticeable changes’ in appearance or taste after four months of exposure to air.
According to the United States Department of Agriculturefood waste is a huge problem domestically.
It is estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of food is wasted annually, or about 20 pounds per month.
At a 31 percent level, that would add up to about 133 billion pounds of food or $ 161 billion worth of food as of 2010.
Globally, the problem is even greater: the World Food Program estimates that a third of the world’s food is wasted every year, or $ 1 trillion.
As such, it is “crucial to develop methods for recycling food waste,” the university said in the publication.
Because the materials are strong enough for construction projects yet are edible in nature and taste, there may be some “ creative uses ” that have emerged from their research, the university added.
How To Optimize Your Fridge Storage To Keep Your Groceries Fresh For Longer – And Save You Money
In an effort to reduce food waste and educate consumers on how to extend the shelf life of their refrigerator items, Samsung has come up with a series of tips for organizing a refrigerator.
1. Adjust the shelves of your fridge to suit your needs to eliminate that one tall bottle or container of leftovers that don’t quite fit the way you want
2. Make sure you know where to keep your fruits and vegetables – some foods like avocados, peaches and cantaloupe should be kept out of the fridge before ripening, but refrigerate as soon as they are ripe to avoid wastage
3. To maintain an even temperature in your fridge, look for models with NoFrost technology – which keeps food fresher for longer, but also prevents icing
4. Remember that humidity is just as important as temperature. If possible, use drawers with adjustable settings so that fresh fruits and vegetables don’t get soggy
5. Always store raw meat, poultry and fish on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator and keep it wrapped to prevent food odors from spreading and any juices dripping onto other foods.