Orange peel and barren wastelands have produced some surprisingly good results down in Costa Rica. A projected started in 1997, saw a juice company dump 1,000 truckloads of waste orange peel in a pasture, producing greenery on an unexpected level.

Two Princeton researchers Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs cooperated with an orange juice manufacturer, Del Oro, to dump 1,000 truck loads of waste orange peel on to a donated part of their land. A total of 12 tonnes of orange peel was dumped on 7-acres of dead soil.

The plan was quickly cancelled within 2 years but by then the orange peel had decomposed and made the soil rich in nutrients.

“[W]ithin about six months the orange peels had been converted from orange peels into this thick black loamy soil,” says ecologist Timothy Treuer from Princeton University.

“This is one of the only instances I’ve ever heard of where you can have cost-negative carbon sequestration,”

“It’s not just a win-win between the company and the local park – it’s a win for everyone.”

The area had become so green and full of life, when Treuer went see the progress it had made, he couldn’t find the area. He first attempted to find the area in 2013 but was unsuccessful. Multiple trips later, he found it last year.

“It didn’t help that the six-foot-long sign with bright yellow lettering marking the site was so overgrown with vines that we literally didn’t find it until years later,” Treuer told Marlene Cimons at Popular Science, “after dozens and dozens of site visits.”

This project is amazing news for the planet. It presents a way to deal with waste that is beneficial for the environment, creating areas rich in greenery which where there was not before. The time scale of how fast this can be achieved is unknown as it was not being documented. However, if more projects like this are created it could help the environment and help restore ecosystems.


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