International waste-to-product company, Renewi plc is working with Dutch start-up business, PeelPioneers, to launch a 100% circular solution for the processing of the 250m kg of citrus peels that are thrown away in the Netherlands each year.
Renewi will collect the peels from supermarkets and catering companies and transport them to PeelPioneers’ new plant, which will be based at Renewi’s Son site in the Netherlands.
The peels will be turned into essential oils and citrus pulp which will be used as ingredients in products such as detergents and high-quality animal feeds. The plant will be able to process between 25,000 and 50,000 kg of citrus peel each day once it is operational in autumn 2018.
Every 1,000 kg of peels processed will provide enough detergent to clean 4,500 m2 of floor, produce healthy supplementary feed for 200 cows and reduce carbon emissions by 220 kg. This is comparable with the environmental impact of 500 showers, showing the environmental benefit this circular solution brings.
Eric Segers – “We are always looking for new, innovative ways to process waste streams into produce valuable raw materials. Our partnership with PeelPioneers is fully compatible with our vision, which is to ‘waste no more’!”
In addition to these sustainability benefits, it is especially important for citrus peels to be treated in this way as they can cause problems if added to organic waste for composting or digestion. Due to this, the majority of this type of waste has historically ended up in incinerators which loses the valuable raw materials.
Business development organisation Brabantse Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij, financing foundation Stichting DOEN and ABN-AMRO have invested over €1m in PeelPioneers to build the new recycling plant. In the future, there are plans to process other components found in citrus peels such as cellulose and pectin into valuable products.
Eric Segers, Director of Specialities in Renewi’s Netherlands Commercial Division said: “We are always looking for new, innovative ways to process waste streams into produce valuable raw materials. Our partnership with PeelPioneers is fully compatible with our vision, which is to ‘waste no more’!”
Sytze van Stempvoort, one of the founders of PeelPioneers said: “We are extremely proud to have gained the confidence of our investors and Renewi. It is enabling us to start processing citrus peel for the valuable product it actually is to make new products.”