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PeelPioneers starts turning citrus peel into secondary raw materials

04 December 2018

The official opening of the first PeelPioneers manufacturing facility on the Renewi site in Son (Netherlands) took place on Thursday, 29 November 2018. The construction of an innovative processing line for citrus peel was completed on that very day, and the PeelPioneers – the ‘sustainable peel people of the 21st century’ – then wasted no time, immediately putting it into operation.

PeelPioneers was founded as a start-up in 2017 with the idea of processing citrus peel and turning it into secondary raw materials. Since then, the company has grown to become a scale-up business, bringing in an investment of more than one million euros in early 2018. The money was used to construct the processing line.

A fully circular solution for citrus peel

PeelPioneers is the first company in the world to process the components that make up citrus peel, turning them into secondary raw materials. In doing so, it provides a fully circular solution for the citrus peel waste stream resulting from the production of fresh fruit juice. Each year in the Netherlands alone, around 250 million kilograms of citrus peel are left over from this production process. Most of it is orange peel.

From components to secondary raw materials
PeelPioneers expects its processing line to be able to process 40,000 kg of citrus peel each day, turning it into essential oils and citrus pulp. These raw materials can then be used as ingredients for detergents and as high-quality animal feed supplements. The company ultimately aims to fully recycle the peel by extracting all of its useful components and turning them into valuable raw materials, such as cellulose and pectin.

Collaboration between Jumbo, Renewi and PeelPioneers
Waste-to-product company Renewi has joined forces with PeelPioneers as a partner, taking care of the logistical aspect of this fully circular solution, or in other words, the collection and transportation of the peel to the manufacturing site in Son. Retailer Jumbo is the first company to arrange for Renewi to deliver left-over citrus peel to PeelPioneers. A total of 140 of Jumbo’s stores will be involved.

Otto de Bont, Managing Director of Renewi, commented as follows: “It is fantastic to see how intensive collaboration with PeelPioneers has led to the opening of a new, innovative production line. And that we are immediately able to get things going through one of our customers coming on board. It’s a great example of how Renewi can work with partners in the chain to make our ‘Waste no more’ concept a reality.”

Official opening
The opening of the PeelPioneers manufacturing site was celebrated on 29 November by bringing together 100 guests, who included the founders of PeelPioneers and staff from partner organisations, such as Renewi and Jumbo.