Over 50 billion coconuts fall from trees annually and while the white, fleshy part of the coconut is edible and used for everything from baking to beauty products, the majority of the husks are discarded. Researchers from Switzerland and the Philippines have developed a sustainable method to produce construction panels, or cocoboards, out of what is commonly thought of as waste materials.
People in the Philippines are facing a severe shortage of adequate living space, which affects low-income families and individuals more drastically than other economic groups. By using coconut husks to build their homes they have found an inexpensive and sustainable building material.
The husk of a coconut is rich in fibrous materials and is mixed with a tannin-based adhesive and pressed together to create something similar to a fiberboard. These panels are then used in construction to create homes.
To make cocoboards even more sustainable, they are manufactured, delivered, and installed locally. By eliminating costly manufacturing and shipping procedures, cocoboards are incredibly environmentally friendly. This process contributes to a circular economy.
The research team is currently conducting further studies on customer acceptance of cocoboards, and beginning to develop a business strategy associated with local production.