Published:

Turning Sugar Beets into “Green” Packaging



The United States is one of the world’s largest sugar producers, and sugar beets account for about 55 percent of the total sugar produced domestically. The domestic sugar beet industry produces about 1 million tons of pulp annually, which is traditionally turned into animal feed. But now scientists have found a new way to put this pulp to use: eco-friendly packaging.

Earlier this year, the USDA announced that Agricultural Research Service scientists had found a way to create food packing by incorporating sugar beet pulp and a biodegradable polymer called polyactic acid (PLA), which is derived from sugars in plant matter. The biodegradable thermoplastic is being studied for use in disposable food containers. It has properties like soft polystyrene or polypropylene and could stand in for traditional fossil fuel-based plastic packaging. Because sugar beet pulp is an agricultural byproduct, packaging made from this material could be very cost competitive with petroleum-driven products.

More Articles

Cherries: One of Nature's Perfect Treats

Cherries: One of Nature's Perfect Treats

With 3g of fiber and 260mg potassium per cup, these heart-protective drupes contain cholesterol-lowering sterols.
Nutrition Therapy: Working with People with Disabilities

Nutrition Therapy: Working with People with Disabilities

Career opportunities for working with people who have disabilities are expanding, especially as approaches to therapy shift toward promoting personal wellness and capability.
Savor: Sea Salt

Savor: Sea Salt

While sea salt is sometimes promoted as a healthful alternative to regular table salt, the sodium content is essentially the same. The advantage is that some people use less when cooking or finishing with sea salt.


blog comments powered by Disqus

View The Current Issue

The latest news and resources from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics — the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. Read More.

Tweets from Nutrition Experts