Construction material made of cellulose waste

Honext is a sustainable construction material made of cellulose leftover of unusable paper sludge and cardboard waste.

Most construction materials are difficult to recycle and usually end up on the landfill. The industry’s global waste output will reach 2.2 billion tons annually by 2025 if nothing changes.

To combat this problem, Barcelona-based company Honext developed a waste-reclaiming process that turns cellulose residue into a fully recyclable, construction ready material. Their source material comes from paper mills and waste disposal facilities.

Paper can only be recycled a finite amount of times, until the cellulose fibres become too short to be bound together by conventional means. When that happens, the cellulose residue usually ends up on the landfill or is burnt. By estimation, 7 million tons of such waste are produced globally each year.

Honext uses this unusable paper sludge and cardboard waste to make board material, using a mix of enzymes, non-toxic additives, heat and pressure. The material contains no non-recyclable binding resins and doesn’t emit harmful particles.

The board material can be used for interior partitioning or cladding. It has similar properties to traditional materials used for such applications, with the added feature that it is lighter, more flexible and better sound absorption than materials like drywall or MDF.

The Catalan town of Vacarisses is home to Honext’s pilot plant. Built right next to the town’s landfill, the factory serves as a fully operational proof of concept of the company’s circular approach to production and distribution.

In it, Honext leverages advanced proprietary technology to produce its boards with zero environmental impact. The gas and electricity come from the digestion of the town ́s waste, while water is permanently reused in a closed circuit.

Photos: Honext / Firma / Alga Studio