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Valorisation of Waste Carton Paper, Melon Seed Husks, and Groundnut Shells to Thermal Insulation Panels for Structural Applications


In the midst of challenges facing affordable, safe and sustainable housing development, there is a continuous increase in the vast amounts of carton papers, melon seed husks, and groundnut shells discarded as waste materials. This is of great concern, especially, as such residues are under-utilised and their improper disposal creates grave problems. Thus, this work was designed to assess the feasibility of solving the emerging problems by valorising the said wastes into value-added products that can be used for building construction. Samples containing varying weight proportions of waste carton paste (WCP) and melon seed husk (MSH) were developed using Topbond as binding agent. Other samples were similarly fabricated but with groundnut shell (GNS) as a component. From the results of tests performed to investigate strength and heat transfer behaviour of each developed sample, it was observed that nailability remained 100% irrespective of the composite formulations adopted. In other cases, the test results varied according to WCP loadings. Though samples containing MSH appeared to be more efficient than their counterparts with GNS content for thermal insulation, the observed differences in the results were statistically insignificant. Aside being sustainable and inexpensive, it was found generally that the afore-mentioned wastes are promising alternative raw materials for production of medium-density panels that are environmentally-friendly and also suitable for use as either ceiling or interior partition boards for effective thermal insulation in buildings. Such undertakings have the potential to minimise the adverse effects that could be caused by the wastes in question.

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Correspondence to Okechukwu E. Agbasi.

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Novelty Statement

Packaging of melons or groundnuts for wholesale is mostly done in cartons made of paper, which are usually discarded then after as waste materials. Due to growing importance and high consumption of melon and groundnut, vast amount of residues generated after processing of the crops remain under-utilised and the current strategies for disposal of municipal solid wastes in developing countries are inefficient. This leads to open burning, indiscriminate dumping or unplanned landfilling of the wastes, thereby requiring an urgent need to consider more efficient routes for valorising the wastes in question. Production of value-added products from waste carton paper, melon seed husks, and groundnut shells is proposed. The developed composite panels are suitable for use as ceiling or interior partition boards in order to ensure effective thermal insulation/minimisation of the adverse effect caused by climate change in buildings. Such waste valorisation is a promising alternative for solving the problems associated with disposal of the solid wastes and is first reported in this study.

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Robert, U.W., Etuk, S.E., Agbasi, O.E. et al. Valorisation of Waste Carton Paper, Melon Seed Husks, and Groundnut Shells to Thermal Insulation Panels for Structural Applications. Polytechnica 4, 97–106 (2021).

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