America throws away an astonishing 30–40% of our food supply, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s an ethically indefensible practice, given how many people at home and abroad regularly suffer from extreme hunger and malnutrition, not to mention the many other productive uses for organic matter. Here’s a cool one, fresh off the vine, so to speak: Researchers from the University of Tokyo have unveiled a new building material, comparable to those made from wood powder, but composed instead of food scraps. They tested the process using vacuum-dried, pulverized banana peels, cabbage leaves, onion, orange, pumpkin, and seaweed as the core ingredient, with remarkable results.
“We also found that Chinese cabbage leaves, which produced a material over three times stronger than concrete, could be mixed with the weaker pumpkin-based material to provide effective reinforcement,” senior collaborator Kota Machida said, according to the Good News Network.
The material proved resistant to fungus, insects, and rot, and better yet, it’s perfectly edible.