Egg trays and plastic takeaway lunch box lids can be used to insulate homes in regions with hot and dry climate to improve their energy efficiency.
Research by Sustainable Architecture and Engineering expert Farres Yasser, a PhD candidate at Nottingham Trent University, shows that a composite of egg trays, cardboard, polypropylene plastic lids and styrofoam can be used to retrofit single brick homes with exterior wall insulation.
Tests of the new insulation measure took place in Cairo, Egypt where more than 23% of the city’s waste is made up of paper, cardboard and plastic.
Experiments undertaken during summer showed that a single red brick test chamber insulated with the waste material was cooler on average by 3°C than the same structure without insulation.
Similarly, during winter, the solution helped keep the chamber up to 3.6°C warmer.
The study shows that new material could lead to potential energy savings of up to 3,500kWh per household in the four hottest months of the year.
Researchers say the new practice could save $1 trillion (£820bn) on new materials within the next decade.
Farres Yasser said: “This study clearly demonstrates the true potential for how commonly discarded materials like egg trays and Styrofoam can be used to transform the way we insulate homes.
“Not only are these materials largely available for free, but by working with local tradespeople and residents, we have demonstrated how a composite insulation can be compressed easily in an environmentally friendly way.”