My husband always jokes that bananas and various salad ingredients come to our house to die. While grocery shopping I have such high hopes for them; I envision a healthy snack or see myself building glorious meals based on nutrient-dense plants. I joyfully bring them home and place them in prominent positions in the fridge or on the counter. Then I forget about them. Weeks later my husband gently asks if he can toss the rotting food before it turns completely to liquid. I protest about the bananas saying I could make banana bread with those black beauties. He plays along for a minute and then carefully scoops them from their final resting place and disposes of them. A team of fruit flies follow serving as pall bearers. I always feel guilty. But there is new hope for my way overly ripened produce.
Material made from rotting fruit and vegetables absorbs stray UV light from the sun and converts it into renewable energy. This invention comes from 27-year-old Carvey Ehren Maigue, a student at Mapúa University in the Philippines. His technology won this year’s James Dyson award. The Dyson awards are open to students and recent graduates studying product design, industrial design and engineering. It recognizes and rewards imaginative design solutions to global problems.
According to an article in The Guardian, the system, AuREUS, uses the natural scientific principles behind the northern lights.
“AuREUS is made from crop waste and can be attached in panels to windows and walls. It allows high energy photons to be absorbed by luminescent particles derived from fruit and vegetables, which re-emit them as visible light. Unlike solar panels, the system is effective even when not directly facing the sun because it can pick up UV through clouds and bouncing from walls, pavements and other buildings.”
When asked how his invention was sustainable, he noted “With AuREUS, we upcycle the crops of the farmers that were hit by natural disasters, such as typhoons…. By doing this, we can be both future-looking, and solve the problems that we are currently experiencing now.”
I think my husband would argue that I’m a natural disaster when it comes to our personal share of crops. My hope is that in the future there will be vegetable recycling stations available for me to toss my failures. Until then, I suppose I should look into a kitchen composting kit.
Traci Purdum isn’t proud she wastes food. You can email her ideas for kitchen composting kits to [email protected].