Cocoa waste could help make chocolate wrappers and other food packaging, thanks to a pioneering process devised by UK paper manufacturer James Cropper.
The company worked with Barry Callebaut to devise ways to lessen the international chocolate firm’s environmental impact and came up with a way to use cocoa bean husks to help make green packaging.
James Cropper estimates that every 1t of dry cocoa bean processed generates 10t of cocoa husk waste, making production of paper from these husks a significant breakthrough for packaging firms and chocolatiers.
The finished eco-friendly packaging is made predominantly from unbleached cellulose fibre from sustainable crops, but features 10% cocoa husk content.
No need for additional processing
Cocoa waste materials are delivered to the paper mill in pulpable bags, meaning they can be incorporated into the paper-making process with no need for additional processing.
Unlike other cocoa recycling processes, the bio-recycling solution does not involve the burning or gradual degrading of the fibres of the cocoa husk, claimed the Lake District-based business.
The finished light brown paper also uses the cocoa as a natural colourant, avoiding the need for artificial dyes.
Now in production
The paper is now in production and certified for use in the food supply chain. It is being showcased for the first time at international trade fair Luxepack Monaco, which runs from October 23–25.
“Creating paper from cocoa husks, and achieving food industry certification, for its use in packaging edible products of all kinds is a great achievement …” said Mark Cropper, chairman of James Cropper.
Company ceo Phil Wild said the initiative could provide “a starting point for other industries to consider how their waste materials could be better reused rather than disposed of”.
In addition to packaging, James Cropper also makes framing and archival boards and develops advanced materials based on carbon and other fibres for automotive and aerospace sectors.