A Matter of Fruit develops natural materials from local industrial juice press residues. The residues are transformed into flexible, compostable and recyclable films which offer a non-toxic alternative to conventional plastics and synthetic material such as soft PVC or polyurethane.
Rethinking the juice industry waste
The industrial processing of fruits and vegetables into juice results in huge quantities of another material, the potential of which is hardly recognised: pomace. These press residues are currently used as fodder and compost, to obtain pectin or to produce biogas and – in theory – undergo a circular process. However, its unique qualities could be put to much better use.
Germany is a traditional fruit juice country. Its inhabitants are world champions in drinking apple juice, which consequently produces a vast amount of this valuable biomass. A Matter of Fruit has developed natural films from these local juice press residues, mainly using apple pomace. The new material is compostable and recyclable and can be used as an alternative to fossil-fuel based plastics. This way the initial pomace cycle is extended, where the material can circulate further, replacing harmful linear systems.
When developing the material, it was important to use as few additives as possible – and to push boundaries: how can different properties be developed solely through different processing methods? For example, granulating pomace in different grain sizes can expand the scope for design and influences the characteristics of the material.
The aim of A Matter of Fruit is to take responsibility for its developed materials. Since the new 'pomace material' is recyclable and compostable, it can also be further processed after use. For example, before it ends up prematurely on the compost, it can be transformed into a plant pot, thus replacing plastic pots in order to save further resources. Tests have shown that when the plant is planted in the ground together with the 'pomace pot', the material degrades within three weeks.