‘We can produce a material that can replace wood by using hazelnut shells in 80% of it,’ Ayşe Yılmaz says…


With a unique technique she has developed, a Turkish industrial designer transforms expired and waste materials into construction items.

As the concept of recycling cannot meet the needs due to the increasing threat of natural resources, the concept of upcycling has gained prominence in recent years.

Contrary to recycling, which is reusing waste materials such as glass, paper, and plastic, upcycling enables different materials to be turned into other products. Upcycling allows an old or unusable product to be transformed into a “green” material with natural resources used efficiently.

Ayse Yilmaz is able to provide different materials for the construction sector via upcycling.

Yilmaz uses waste materials such as expired rice, green and red lentils, kidney beans, coffee pulp, nutshells, mown grass, leaves, carrot pulp, orange and tangerine peels for the products she upcycles.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Yılmaz said she first tested tangerine peels and when she was able to create a product successfully, she tried waste food, leaves, and grass.

The product she develops consists of waste material and a binder, Yılmaz said, adding that about 80% of the product consists of waste, and the remaining part is a recyclable “green” material used as the binder.

“For instance, we can produce a material that can replace wood by using hazelnut shells in 80% of it.”

She said that her company Ottan obtains waste materials directly from producers, while some are donated and others are purchased.

“We buy expired lentils, rice, etc. from stores. We buy the shells of hazelnuts and peanuts from producers. We use leaves and grass for producing acoustic materials,” she said.

In flooring materials, Yilmaz said, they use peanut shells, while orange peels are preferred in lighting fixtures.

She further said that “eggshells are water-resistant and very clean materials and ideal for use in wet areas.”

The innovative designer also said they receive orders from both foreign and domestic companies. “There is demand from everywhere you can think of, from Europe to the US, Australia, and Japan.”

Calling on Turkish investors to support her initiative, Yılmaz said: “Let’s spread this value to the whole world together and make a big change.”

Writing by Merve Aydoğan,


About İsmail Uğural

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