Fruit wastes are a major byproduct of the food and wine processing industries. These byproducts, containing the skin, seeds, and stems of the fruit are left over after processing and are typically sent to landfills. Apple pomace (AP) and grape pomace (GP) are two examples of such byproducts that can be utilized as low-cost filler for plastic composite applications. Once dried, the pomace is ground and incorporated into a polymer matrix, with as much as 50 % by weight pomace. This addition reduces the amount of pomace sent to the landfill, increases its value and decreases the amount of expensive polymers required. The pomace can be combined with biobased polymers to create green composites. Biobased poly(butylene succinate) (BioPBS) is an expensive biobased, biodegradable polyester whose cost can be reduced with the incorporation of a filler. AP and BioPBS composites and GP and BioPBS composites were created and mechanical and thermal analysis of the composites shows comparable properties to neat BioPBS. The creation of sustainable biocomposites from a traditionally thought of waste product provides an environmentally friendly solution to a common processing problem, while simultaneously providing cost savings to plastic manufactures.
This research is financially supported by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), University of Guelph, Bioeconomy Industrial Uses Research Program Theme Project # 030177; and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Grants Project #400320, Canada Discovery Grants Project # 400320. Special thanks to Martinâs Processing Ltd for the apple pomace samples and Andrew Peller Winery for the grape pomace samples.