UK paper manufacturer James Cropper has developed another innovative recycling process that incorporates cocoa husk waste from chocolate production into unbleached cellulose fiber to produce a food-grade paper. The company says turning the otherwise wasted skins of many of the 3.5 million metric tons of cocoa beans produced each year into paper could be a significant breakthrough for the food and packaging industries.
The paper is now in production and certified for use in the food supply chain, including as wrapping for chocolate bars.
The company says that unlike other cocoa recycling processes, theirs does not require burning or gradual degradation of the husk fibers, resulting in a light, cocoa-colored paper that requires no additional artificial dyes.
Apparently, a staggering 10 metric tons of cocoa husk waste is created for every single metric ton of dry cocoa bean produced.
Phil Wild, CEO of James Cropper plc. said: “The production of a brand new paper that repurposes the primary waste material of the cocoa and chocolate industry reflects how far we can push the capabilities of our state-of-the-art mill, our expertise and paper itself – perhaps providing a starting point for other industries to consider how their waste materials could be better reused rather than disposed of.”
The finished product, predominantly made up of unbleached cellulose fiber from sustainable crops, features a 10 percent cocoa husk content, the company says.
The cocoa paper came about after Barry Callebaut, the world’s largest cocoa and chocolate manufacturer, asked James Cropper to review its packaging in an effort to reduce its waste and overall environmental footprint.
“Creating paper from cocoa husks and achieving food industry certification, for its use in packaging edible products of all kinds is a great achievement and is another example of James Cropper developing industry-leading solutions for even more sustainable methods of paper production,” said CEO Mark Cropper.
In July, James Cropper announced new technology that enables the recycling of disposable coffee cups into high-quality paper products. After four years of development, the company can now not only recycle the fiber content in cup waste but also the plastic coating, creating a closing the loop on disposable cup waste.
Both James Cropper’s paper cup and cocoa husk paper innnovations are among the finalists for the 2013 Luxe Pack in Green Award, taking place today at the Luxe Pack in Green exhibition in Monaco.