Takachiho Amaterasu Railway Co.'s sightseeing train, which operates on biodiesel fuel made from used cooking oil and lard extracted from discarded ramen soup, draws tourists to Miyazaki prefecture in Japan. Photo Credit: Shiho Fukada

Environment Japan24. December 2022

From Food Waste to Furniture: Upcycling Wins!

Since necessity is the mother of invention, three companies in Japan have decided to turn food waste into entirely different products such as fuel, cement, and even 3D-printed furniture!

Japan’s mission to cut its food waste by half by 2030 is in full swing. As part of the restoration of Takachiho Amaterasu Railway’s operations, the Amaterasu Grand Super Cart – a 4.8 km long two-car open-air train for tourists – runs every day and is fueled with leftover lard and cooking oil gathered from some 2,000 restaurants.

Fabula, a Tokyo-based start-up, makes cement from drying food scraps compressed and pressed into a mold at a high temperature. Any food can be used – even boxed lunch – and the company mainly uses coffee grounds and tea leaves. The company currently makes coasters and dishes, but it plans to produce furniture and larger structures. Since the cement is 100% edible, evacuees could turn to them during disasters for sustenance. As for the Tokyo-based design company NOD, it uses eggshells and coffee grounds to create minimalistic 3D-printed furniture on a commission basis. Food waste is dried and blended with resins, and the mixture is turned into pellets and then melted for the ink needed. The company hopes to positively influence people regarding consumption and encourage them to upcycle instead of buying new furniture.

Washington Post

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