Coffee husks, the natural material around coffee beans that come off during the roasting process, are normally dumped in waste piles that release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. To combat this, Colombian-based company Woodpecker has found a way to combine the husks with recycled plastic to create a new, sustainable building material.

Woodpecker uses the lightweight yet strong material to make the walls of prefab houses that cost as little as $4,500.

“We saw that there was a huge necessity for a lightweight construction system for housing and classrooms in rural and isolated places where traditional construction systems cannot go – like bricks, cement and concrete,” says CEO Alejandro Franco.

Materials needed to be light enough to be transported in a small boat, helicopter or the back of a burro. “Coffee husk was selected because it’s stronger and drier than other fibres,” says Franco.

As Colombia is one of the largest coffee-producing countries in the world, the husks are also widely available. The final material is fireproof, insect-resistant and highly durable.

Read more in the full article here.