California is known for its almonds, which produces many coproducts like: almond hulls, shells, and other woody material. Instead of dumping them in landfill, they can be redeployed to biochar and other biodegradable plastics for garbage bags, flower pots and rubber tires, according to this article.
Researchers are looking at creating materials from almond hulls and shells that can be incorporated into cosmetics, foods, pharmaceuticals and plastics. Almond shells can be heated to high temperatures, producing a charcoal-like product, which has the potential to be used to create stronger, biodegradable plastics such as garbage bags, flower pots and rubber tires.
Furthermore, the spent almond hulls left over from sugar extraction can also be heated to high temperatures to produce a product similar to charcoal, known as biochar. Biochar can be spread on all farms (not just almond farms) which could lead to improvements in soil quality and water-holding capacity. Future research is needed to understand and quantify the impacts of biochar on almond orchards.
Photo courtesy of Almonds.com