USDA scientists are reusing discarded almond shells and hulls to create renewable products, from biodegradable plastics to biofuel

 | Edsel Cook  04/24/2018 9:13 AM MDT
Credit; Public Domain

(Natural News) California-based researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are proud to present a plethora of renewable products from the discarded shells and hulls of almonds. According to an article by FastCompany, they’ve created bio-fuel, biodegradable plastic additives, and healthy almond sugar.

The researchers are looking for ways to use the billions of pounds of organic waste material produced by California’s almond orchards every year.

“For every pound of almonds we produce, we get two pounds of hulls. We’re always trying to figure out the best use of these,” says Danielle Veenstra, a farmer and member of the Almond Board of California.

Almond hulls are traditionally used as animal feed for cows. The shells serve as bedding material for livestock.

As California’s almond industry grew in size, the dairy industry declined, in part because almond milk competes with dairy milk. The loss of its primary customer hurt the market value of hulls and shells, forcing farmers and hullers to look for other ways to make money.