You've got to squeeze a lot of oranges to get a glass of juice. The lesson: It takes a lot of work to get to the reward. The fact: The reward leaves behind a lot of waste. But chemical engineers in Brazil – the world’s largest producer of oranges – are looking at ways to promote better use of the by-products.
According to the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), during the production of orange juice it is estimated that up to 20 million tons of waste is produced mainly from the peel, pulp, seeds, orange leaves and fruits that do not meet quality standards.
At the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil, a study by the Department of Chemical and Food Engineering has proposed a range of uses of orange waste including in the manufacture of paper; the absorption of pollutants; as a fertilizer; a potential new fuel source, including bio-fuels and charcoal; and as a food ingredient with antioxidant properties.
My grandparents on both sides of the family grew up during the Depression. I learned from them long ago to never waste anything. I still think of the phrase "Waste not, want not" when I am coaxing out the last bead of toothpaste or scraping the last swipe of lipstick out of the tube. This news would make them smile. Although, I'm certain my grandmothers were tossing the orange peels on the compost pile long before it was the hip thing to do.
Read the entire IChemE release.
Traci Purdum, senior digital editor and fan of oranges, juice and lessons learned from her elders.
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