Published: October 17, 2017

The company argues that organic waste would ameliorate rising levels of waste and shortfalls of raw material, as well as providing industry with cheap, low carbon materials. — Global Construction Review

By Mackenzie Goldberg

Beyond being delicious, peanuts, rice, bananas, potatoes and mushrooms have something else in common—they are all being proposed by Arup group as potential building materials in their new report titled “The Urban Bio-Loop.”

According to the authors, the report aims “at demonstrating that a different paradigm for materials in construction is possible.” This could be done by diverting, in part, organic waste that is traditionally managed through landfill, incineration and composting to become a resource for the creation of construction engineering and architecture products.

THE BIOLOOP Nature becomes an endless source of feedstock for the built environment

Some of the organic materials proposed are: peanut shells, which can be used to produce low-cost partition boards that are resistant to moisture and fire; rice, whose husks can be turned to ash and mixed with cement to reduce need for fillers; bananas, whose fruits and leaves can make rugged textiles due to high-strength fibres; potato peels, which can be cleaned, pressed and dried

CURRENT MODEL Biological loop considering traditional disposal options

to create a low-weight, fire-resistant and water-repellent insulating material; and mushrooms, which Arup has previously used to grow a 40-foot tower.

ALTERNATIVE MODEL Organic waste acquires value through technical exploitation

Using food waste for building materials would help create a circular economy where organic waste, instead of being disposed, is the main resource, the group argues. This would help ameliorate rising levels of waste and shortfalls of raw material, as well as providing the industry with cheap, low carbon materials.

Products are made by mixing rice husks ash with cement to reduce the need for fillers.Rice can be also used as raw material for boards production as showcased with other plants previously.