Since the 1980s, orange production has continued to increase across the world, and in 2014, orange production clocked in at 68,925,200 tonnes, with much of the fruit being used to make products like jams, marmalades and juices – all of which result in waste orange peels on a massive scale (around 3.8 million tonnes of waste a year). In Italy alone, about 700,000 tonnes of waste materials and by-products from citrus production are produced every year. To make the most of this local resource, science, fashion, manufacturing, government, education and innovators have all identified a potential valuable feedstock from both orange peel and orange pulp.
Spain is the leading grower of oranges in the European Union, producing 3,800,000 tonnes per year. AIMPLAS, a Spanish plastics-technology institute, is exploring the use of orange peel as a potential bioplastic. In partnership with the Spanish government and a wine and juice specialist, AIMPLAS is exploring innovative ways to use the citrus peel bioplastic, including in plastic bottles and replacing of aluminium railway applications.