Making practical use of the whole almond

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Recycling almond shells
By Jinny Throup
The production of almond-based products has increased greatly in recent years, as word has spread about the many healthy benefits to be had from them. However, this rapid rise in production has created a massive amount of waste from the hull or shell that protects the nut. Traditionally, these were fed to dairy cows but because of the decline in dairy products (ironically due in part to almond milk) producers in the US are experimenting with other solutions. One possibility is crushing and compressing the hulls to create sugar which can be converted into hard cider, beer and tea. These sugars can also be used in food products as a healthier alternative to corn syrup.

Another innovative idea involves adding almond shells to recycled plastic which makes it stronger and more heat resistant. This could create bio-plastic products that are more durable, and thus reusable and sustainable. Researchers are even experimenting with turning almond hulls into renewable fuel as the powder from the shells could potentially replace petroleum. Almond production shows no signs of decreasing, and with scientific research now finding new recyclable uses for the husks, the benefits of the almond are set to have a growing positive impact - not only in terms of a healthy diet, but also for our environment. Perhaps there are opportunities for recycling here on Ibiza with our abundance of almond trees.


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