From green biomass waste to green eco-resource fibres
From Japanese knotweed to a light switch
Green waste residues are hardly used nowadays. Today, most green waste streams from the container parks are converted into compost and some fractions are incinerated into bioenergy. However, green residual flows from, among others, reeds and Japanese knotweed can be converted into quality fibres, an eco-raw material for further processing into valuable circular products.
Nowadays, green residual flows often have to be disposed of to a waste processing site. Today, most of it is converted into compost. The sieve overflow is often woody and is burned for the generation of green bioenergy. However, it is possible to separate various streams upon, eg. reeds, Japanese knotweed. Pro Natura/Kiemkracht has been experimenting for several years to convert these streams into quality fibres. The reeds and Japanese knotweed are naturally dried, then converted into a high-quality fiber by means of a hammer mill. These fibers form an eco-resource material that can be used for numerous applications. Mixed with natural resins and coffee grounds, it can serve as a tabletop or floor covering. Mixed with bio components, it can be pressed into a panel from which objects or furniture can be made. What can be done with reeds and Japanese knotweed can actually be done with any biomass stream, i.e. convert green waste into a fiber, a usable eco-resource material for further application in the production chain.
Within the Three C project, Pro Natura has gained a lot of experience in converting green waste streams into usable fibres. More than 12 residual flows were tested and analysed. The conversion to biochar by pyrolysis was also investigated. Various partners have started working with the fibres of reeds, Japanese knotweed and raspberry, among others. Pro Natura itself had a container made from raspberry fiber and starch in collaboration with a Dutch manufacturer of packaging. The container can be used for packaging fruit and is 100% biodegradable. Circular Matters started working with reeds and knotweed. The fibers are mixed with natural bio components and pressed into plates. These plates can serve as a furniture panel. At the initiative of Livable Lab, Circular Matters and Pro Natura teamed up with three designers and manufacturers to produce a new circular product based on these panels. These three products, a lighting, a light switch and a drawer tray won gold at the Henry van de Velde Design Award 2022.
Sterk geschakeld — KiemKracht
- Challenge Tackled
The mountain of green residual flows is enormous. The challenge is to no longer see this as waste but as an important raw material.
- Target group, beneficiaries or clients
The target groups are diverse.
The producer of green waste from garden contractor to farmer : green waste could now be a revenue instead of a costely waste to dispose off.
For the manager of a green waste site, it offers the possibility of a broader option of processing, not only compost but also other products.
Producers who want to focus on circular production now get an important eco-resource material to work with.
The processing of green residual flows is often a cost and problematic. By converting them into high-quality fibres, they become eco-raw materials that can be sold for further applications.
It encourages circular use, ensures the sale of often local residual flows
Often replaces unsustainable materials such as plastic, reduces the environmental impact and ecological footprint of a product.
Due to the conversion, the ‘carbon’ fiber remains in the chain longer, so a lower CO2 footprint and positive for the climate.
Degradable, recyclable materials and products
From waste to an eco-raw material From a cost to a yield.
Waste is a cost, conversion to fiber is a yield
Natural product, substitute for non-sustainable materials, eg. Plastic Development of new materials and products
- Unique Selling Point
The fiber turns waste into a raw material, widely applicable, yield model, eco friendly
Multistakeholder benefit, different purposes and applications
It has an important exemplary function, shows the infinite possibilities of biomass and green residual flows, a demonstrator for other potential products
It inspires citizens to stop viewing green residual flows as waste (capacity building)
The products inspire to switch to eco-climate and CO2-friendly alternatives
It can also be combined with joint learning and development activities in the field of sustainability and demonstrate the positive effects of biochar made from waste biomass
It has a very high portability because it can be used in different contexts and environments, in urban, semi-urban and rural environments, in public and private/industrial/commercial locations.
The fibres are relatively easy to produce, the techniques are very simple and ubiquitous: natural drying, grinding, pressing…
It can also be developed in combination with local stakeholders from various sectors : construction, agriculture, packaging, furniture …
It can also be combined with joint learning and development activities