As we look for ways to reduce the amount of waste we produce, researchers are also look to repurpose industrial paper waste.
Paper consumption is a huge concern in our modern society, especially during the holidays, where countless amounts of it are used in packaging and for wrapping paper. Aside from curtailing our use of paper, a university in Spain is exploring ways to repurpose waste from the paper industry.
Researchers have combined paper industry waste with other ceramic materials used in construction to create a new type of brick. The product has been shown to have low thermal conductivity, which makes it a good insulator in construction. It also offers economic and environmental production benefits.
The bricks themselves are pressed out of a machine like sausages and are then cut to size. Currently, the prototypes are small—about 3 x 1 x 6 cm—but researchers have tested larger bricks with similarly promising results.
The disadvantage reported by researchers is that the bricks have a lower mechanical resistance than regular bricks, although they are still above minimum legal requirements.
In the future, similar products may also contain other types of waste, such as sludge from water treatment plants and residues from beer, olives, and biodiesel industries. It’s a new and interesting way researchers are looking into sustainability initiatives, but there’s still much more work to be done.
More on recycling and repurposing
- “From Tissues to Toilet Paper”
- “The Blue Box”
- “The Disposable Dilemma”