Orange You Glad This Packaging Is Made From Discarded Peels?

by Rudy Sanchez on 06/27/2019 | 2 Minute Read

Oranges have their own natural, durable packaging which safely houses the sweet and juicy flesh within. Extracting the juice produces a lot of orange peels, a fact that inspired one design student to explore ways using those discarded skins to create a juice carton.

“Initially I had the idea that you could use all the waste produced making a liter of orange juice to create the carton,” said Denny Handley, a product design student at Brunel University, London. “But the material itself steadily degrades in water, so I looked for other applications for it.” Handley dubbed the end result “Bio-Peel.”

So while creating a juice carton didn’t work out as planned, Handley found that orange peels, when mixed with other biodegradable materials, including vegetable glycerin (itself an industrial byproduct) and water, could be molded, baked and then dried to form a hardened substance.

It’s almost like juicing every vegetable in your fridge and taking the fibrous vegetable waste and molding it into a piece of packaging.

Editorial photograph

The end product looks a lot like a pie crust, and given the rustic aesthetic, Denny believes it’s more suited for farmers’ markets and takeout rather than the grocery store. The material’s properties also make it ideal for other applications like packing crates and even furniture. Handley also found the substance was bulletproof after he shot at it with a shotgun.

This isn’t the first instance of product designers using discarded food peels to create packaging. Last year, a Milan-based trio of designers created Peel Saver, a biodegradable package material made from potato peels intended for street food, like french fries.

Using discarded peels not only reduces our reliance on single-use plastic, but it also reduces the amount of garbage that ends up in the landfills, intercepting the material twice, first as an upcycled industrial byproduct, then—since they're made of fruits and vegetables—composted or fed to animals after their initial use.

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