Potatoes can flourish thanks to waste from banana plants.
Now, a research team based at North Carolina State University has turned its attention to leftovers of a different kind.
In recent pilot studies they have been experimenting with sawdust in order to substitute Styrofoam packaging material.
Out of finely ground wood scrap and residues from agricultural products, they created a powder which can be moulded. The binding agent is plant-based, and no water is needed.
In contrast to petroleum-based Styrofoam, which is non-recyclable and takes some 500 years to decompose, the team’s material is both reusable and biodegradable in saltwater.