Potato chips. Cookies. Candy. A burger, fries, and soda from your favorite fast-food restaurant. Most people know these are processed foods. But even apples, the classic healthy snack that keeps doctors away, are processed.
“‘Fresh’ apples are actually picked several months to a year before they show up in the supermarket,” says Soo-Yeun Lee, director of the School of Food Science at Washington State University. “They’re washed, coated with an edible wax, and stored in a very specific condition before they’re distributed. That’s all processing. Without it, apples would shrivel up or rot within a few weeks.”
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Why make plastic from petroleum and fossil fuels when they can be made from plants and bio-based materials?
Plastic waste remains a huge problem, one that WSU researchers are working on, but other research across the country looks at alternatives to fossil fuel-based plastics.
WSU collaborates with Iowa State University on the Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2) on developing high-value biobased products from agricultural and forestry feedstocks. The WSU Composite Materials and Engineering Center provides expertise in renewable resources to develop those novel bio-based polymers, chemicals, and composites.
The work at WSU has been underway for a … » More …
There’s nothing new about being green.
Two millennia ago, Chinese Minister for Agriculture Tsai Lun in the first-century Han dynasty called for subjects of the emperor to boil old linen rags for papermaking. Professional recyclers in medieval England collected dust and ash left from fireplaces, then sold it to brick manufacturers as an inexpensive base material. More recently, World War II saw an uptick in recycling, with many common household items like clothes, scrap metal, and tires turned into new products for the war effort.