A new Arup publication, (The Urban Bio-Loop) aims to demonstrate that a different paradigm for materials in construction is possible, through the adoption of organic waste re-imagined as construction materials.
“Adopting the principles of Circular Economy provides the rationale for a shift from a linear (take, make, dump) disposal model – towards a circular value chain where organic waste is the main resource.
The use of organic waste in construction would possibly allow the exploitation of its untapped value with a positive impact not only from an environmental perspective but also from a technical, social and economic standpoint”
The waste and resource use profile of construction is not healthy, as reinforced by statistics within the report. For example, 60% of UK raw materials are consumed by construction and operation of the built environment and up to 30% of EU waste comes from construction. (FutuREstorative used the 40% rule of thumb for waste and resource use)
And the food waste sector is equally poor, with 0.6 billion tonnes consumer organic waste produced globally, accounting for 5% of global green house gases.
The report suggests that “organic waste from our cities and countryside, 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”
Intriguing and Inspiring facts and examples include:
- Pineapple: Internal cladding and furniture
- Rice: Brick and Block Products. Rice can be also used as raw material for board production
- Banana fruit and leaves can be used to obtain rugged textiles and carpets. The material is 100% biodegradable. http://leoxx.nl/
- Sunflower: floors walls and ceiling boards, made by the repurposing of waste from sunflower harvesting. They are made by just adding water, heat and pressure with no additives. http://www.kokoboard.com/
- Peanut: Flame retardant boards, made by the repurposing of waste from peanut shells. Peanuts shell are turned into particle boards by a hot press procedure and the use of a formaldehyde-free (e.g. soy based) adhesives.
Download the Arup report from https://www.arup.com/en/publications/research/section/the-urban-bio-loop