Apple waste for packaging Pt 2

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Apple waste for packaging Pt 2

With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. Options for replacing plastic packaging are the focus of research at Oregon State University, where they plan to recycle fruit waste from processing plants to do this.

Professor Yanyun Zhao says that with more and more people getting their news online, there are fewer and fewer old newspapers to use when creating packaging material, so they are looking for options…

ZHAO… “That’s why we’re so interested, so the question is how do we use plant fibers, especially the by-product of food processing like pumice, and use them as an alternative fiber to make plastic packaging? molded pulp, which are environmentally friendly.”

But Zhao says they still have work to do on that before it’s commercially viable…

ZHAO… “You know, we have a patent because it involves a lot of research and trying to formulate the paste to make this type of wrapper, right. And also, from lab-scale communications to larger-scale communications, there’s continuous technological development and that’s very clear.

Right now, Zhao says the focus is on apple pomace because it’s so readily available in the Pacific Northwest…

ZHAO … “This concept can also use other fibres, not necessarily just pomace. You know, you think of things like pumice from wine grapes or even hemp fibers. There are so many other potential fibers to use.

The research is supported by the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crops Block Grant Program.

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