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Help us shape the future of upcycled products & ingredients
Challenge Type: food science
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top 50%
20 months ago

Orange juice is the most popular fruit juice in Europe by consumption with about 6 million liters of pure juice content consumed annually. This consumption rate is expected to rise to 8.2 billion liters by 2023 due in part to the growth of on-premise juicer machines.  Juicer machines make fresh-squeezed orange juice using whole oranges, and once the juice has been made, the orange peels are typically discarded.

What happens to orange peels?  Unfortunately, orange peels cannot be composted like other fruits and vegetables due to their essential oil and wax content which prevents fast decay. This means most orange peels obtained in commercial settings are usually collected and then incinerated as part of standard waste disposal protocols.  Since orange peels are naturally rich in highly prized essential oils, much of this essential oil has been going to waste. 

What's the solution?  PeelPioneers is a Dutch start-up that is making a difference in how we use discarded orange peels.  Here is the process that PeelPioneers uses: 

  • They receive fresh orange peels that are discarded by the supermarket within a 24-hour period.  
  • The fresh orange peels are washed and then a cold-press extracts a high-quality oil-in-water emulsion from the peels.  
  • The peel oil-in-water emulsion is then separated by a high-performance centrifuge.  
  • The orange essential oil is then refined and standardized via vacuum distillation.  It can then be used as material to create signature orange flavors. 

We are interested in your feedback about this new method of using discarded orange peels to create the source material for orange flavors. Additionally, we want your help to identify other upcylcing opportunities.

Keep these definitions in mind as you answer the following questions:

  • Recycling: Converts a material into something that has roughly the same value as it originally had. 
  • Upcycling: Refers to waste material that has been elevated in value.
  • Waste Management: The activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal
  • Zero Waste: A set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused.
  • Reusing/Repurposing: Finding a way to use the same item more than once before becoming a waste

Please answer the following:

1) How do the practices of recycling, upcycling, waste management, and zero waste inform your current purchasing behavior?

2) Similar to the orange peel story described in this challenge, what ideas do you have for products or ingredients that could be successfully upcycled?

  • How would the upcycled waste material be used or elevated in value?
    Submissions will be graded on the following criteria:
  • Rating
Reward Tiers
Top 10%
will share $1,000
Next 15%
will share $400
Next 25%
will share $200
Actual individual rewards will be based on the total number of eligible solutions.
$111.10 Joshua Y. Ansong UMaT
$111.10 Matthew Gaiser Queen's University
$111.10 ERIKA FERNANDES Mumbai
$111.10 Christopher Adjei-Frimpong University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa
$111.10 Joey Latimore University of Houston-Downtown
$111.10 Tejasvi Parupudi Purdue University
$111.10 Phillips Staninski University of Chicago
$111.10 Megan Lynch University of Connecticut
$111.10 Maria Tatika
$30.80 Rushikesh Ganne University of Texas at Arlington
$30.80 Funnie Bunnie University of Miami
$30.80 Emily Armstrong Queen's University
$30.80 Taponitya Samantaray University of Hyderabad
$30.80 Vartika Parekh
$30.80 Lauren Wachenfeld Washington University in St. Louis
$30.80 Nithya Merin Jacob Manipal University
$30.80 Srishti Gupta Indian Institute of Management - Indore
$30.80 Harshajyoti Das Bangalore University
$30.80 Dan Biddle Zhejiang University
$30.80 Daniel Adeleke University of Technology
$30.80 Zariah Loni Minnesota State University Moorhead
$30.80 Mitchell Woolley Central Michigan University
$8.70 Anandhy Kumar CUSAT
$8.70 Olivia Wendell Honolulu community college
$8.70 Jack Coley
$8.70 Maria Solano Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR)
$8.70 Amihai Freed Norwalk Community College
$8.70 Tasneem Khan UC Berkeley
$8.70 Meera Stephen
$8.70 Pablo Santos University of Liverpool
$8.70 santhoshi k
$8.70 Lewis Kim University of California, Berkeley
$8.70 Jennifer Miller Walden University
$8.70 Stephanie Okonjo