Heinz to turn tomatoes into plastic

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Nina Pullman

BY NINA PULLMAN

@nina_pullman

Heinz to turn tomatoes into plastic

Partnership between tomato brand and Ford car manufacturer aims to develop plant fibres from tomato skins into plastic for car parts

Heinz to turn tomatoes into plastic

Tomato fibres could be turned into bio-plastics, thanks to Heinz and Ford

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Tomato brand giant Heinz is partnering with car manufacturer Ford to turn tomato by-product into bio-plastic for use in vehicles.

The venture will investigate how to use tomato fibres and dry tomato skins to develop materials for vehicle components, such as wiring brackets or storage bins for coins and small objects.

“We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application," said Ford’s plastics research technical specialist, Ellen Lee. "Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact.” 

Heinz said it is looking for ways to recycle peel, stems and seeds from the more than two million tonnes of tomatoes it uses each year.

Vidhu Nagpal, associate director for packaging R&D at Heinz, said: “Although we are in the very early stages of research, and many questions remain, we are excited about the possibilities this could produce for both Heinz and Ford, and the advancement of sustainable 100 per cent plant-based plastics.”

 

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