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Will homes of the future be furnished with potatoes?
Two students in London have created an eco-friendly building material made from potato peelings. The material is a great alternative to MDF panels as one of their components is toxic.
Are you a fan of potatoes? You might like them even more when you find out that potato peel can be used to make…a wood substitute. This material is the amazing invention of two graphic design students at Kingston University in London: Rob Nicoll and Rowan Minkley.
It all began when, for an end-of-year project, the two accomplices used potato starch to create bioplastic. They were left with a large quantity of potato peelings at the end of the project. They believed that this waste could be put to good use.
Following a year of trials in the Kingston incubator Chip[s] Board was born. Chip[s] Board is a compact, ready-to-use material solely made from potato peelings.
Five kilos of potato peelings are needed on average to make a 1kg panel.
The product’s solidity means that it can be used instead of MDF. MDF is made from small particles of wood or resin ground and pressed into panels. It is widely used by the furniture industry and in interior decoration (parquet floors, friezes, skirting boards etc). However, it tends to contain formaldehyde, a highly toxic substance for human health.
A healthy and eco-friendly alternative
Chip[s] Board is a healthy and eco-friendly alternative as it does not contain any chemical products. First and foremost, it is fully biodegradable. This was one of Rob Nicoll's and Rowan Minkley’s ambitions - design objects that decompose naturally, so as to cut the amount of furniture waste sent to landfill.
Chip[s] board is easy to work and can be made as flat sheets or custom moulded pieces, which enables it to be used to make a wide range of product lines: furniture, cutlery, and temporary stands and accommodation, for instance, for music festivals.
So what comes next? Find an abundant and reliable source of potato peelings. Rob Nicoll and Rowan Minkley are looking to develop partnerships with agro-food companies, particularly Lamb Weston, specialising in potato-based food products.
This would enable Chip[s] Board to mass-produce its product. And once you know that in the UK alone, 4.2 million tonnes of potatoes are produced (8 million tonnes are produced in France), you realise that there should not be a shortage of raw materials!