The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization points out that roughly 30% of all food is wasted, contributing mainly to solid waste landfills. Most consumers want to do their part: they pay more attention to the environmental impact of their products, how they are sourced and created. As climate change and overpopulation adds pressure on food resources, finding other sources of raw materials is a sustainable solution to avoid competition.
That explains why research and storytelling about upcycled materials, such as discarded fruit, and circular product concepts are growing in interest. Upcycled ingredients prevent waste by creating new, high-quality products. They use materials that otherwise have gone to waste; are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains and have a positive impact on the environment. This provides a more ethical source of ingredients and promotes a zero-waste way of working.
OUR RANGE OF UPCYCLED INGREDIENTS
EarthOil by Univar Solutions is very pleased to bring to the market several upcycled ingredients for your next consumer product. Our range includes:
- Apricot Kernel Oil
- Macadamia Oil
- Rosehip Oil
- Avocado Oil
- Grapeseed Oil
- Citrus Oils
- Lemon Myrtle
Apricot Kernel Oil
Apricot stones are a by-product from apricot fruit processors (used to make jams for example) and cannot be used for other food purposes. The kernel inside the stone is removed and then pressed to extract the oil.
Macadamia nuts are used as food source in many different forms; from topping salads to white chocolate and macadamia nut cookies. The nuts which have defects i.e. insect damage, or not the right size or shape for food marketing are rejected by the food processors and considered a by-product. This raw material however can be upcycled to extract its oil which is used in many other applications outside of food uses.
Rosehip seeds are a by-product of the rosehip food processors which use the shells to make jam or tea. The seeds are upcycled by extracting the oil they contain which have valuable benefits in multiple applications.
Often the slightly damaged or misshapen avocados are those which are used to make oil. The wonky avocados that do not make the grade to be sold to the supermarkets for food use, are those which are sold to make avocado oil, perfect for applications where the beauty of the fruit itself is not the main considering factor. Upcycled avocados make the perfect oil for food, beauty, and personal care applications.
Grapeseed oil comes from South Africa and is a by-product of the wine and juice-making industries. South Africa has some of the healthiest vineyards in the world, ensuring that the fresh handpicked grapes are of the highest quality. The seeds left over are then separated from their skins and stems and cold-pressed to obtain an oil used in different industries. The remaining cake is pressed into natural logs and used as exfoliants in skin products or as animal feed for farmers in the local area, or converted into ecologs and used as an alternative to coal and wood for fire burning. Indeed, very little from the process goes to waste!
Many citrus oils are the by-product of the juice industry, though nowadays, they are indeed very likely to be viewed as a co-product to the juice industry, as their demand and use is just as relevant as any citrus fruit used for the purpose of manufacturing drinks. Citrus oil is usually extracted by cold pressing. By separating and purifying the oil from the rest of the peel and pomace, it can by upcycled and used in many applications.
Hydrosols are a by-product of the steam distillation process used to produce many essential oils. During the distillation process, a small fraction of the essential oil escapes into the condensed steam and into the re-circulated water that goes back into the still. This distillation water with small amounts of water soluble dissolved essential oil components is called a hydrosol. It is usually a by-product that is considered waste but can be upcycled, in personal care formulations for example.
Lemon Myrtle leaves are harvested year-round in Australia, with the majority of the leaf going to (drinking) tea and culinary applications. The leaves not fit for food applications are ‘upcycled” into Lemon Myrtle Essential Oil via a steam distillation process.
Valorization of the waste
In order to further align with a circular economy, some of the waste coming from the production process are also valorized. Concerning essential oils, the leaves remaining after the distillation can be used for composting or organic fertilizer. When it comes to vegetable oils, the press cakes can be sold to different industries, the paste can be added into exfoliating cosmetic products, while the pulp or shell can be upcycled as feed for animals or compost.