Pistachio shells for low-carbon heat

Lowering emissions by repurposing pistachio shells

The more we learn about protecting the environment, the more we’re challenged to rethink waste and what to do with it. As we produce and deliver the number-one snack-nut brand in the U.S., we’ve also found new ways to eliminate the waste and effects of decomposing pistachio shells by transforming them into an alternative heat source. 

Pistachio shells, when left to decompose in a landfill, can contribute to methane and carbon dioxide emissions. Methane has a dramatic negative warming impact on the atmosphere, 30 times that of carbon dioxide. While methane warming is shorter lived than carbon dioxide, it still accounts for 30 percent of today’s global warming, according to the International Energy Agency.

Cement production accounts for about eight percent of global CO2 emissions annually, and pistachio shells offer a low-carbon alternative to traditionally high-carbon fuels like coal, natural gas, and tire-derived fuel. As cement manufacturers begin to reduce their carbon footprint, they desire bio-based heat sources like pistachio shells. Almost every shell generated at the Wonderful Pistachios processing plant goes to California cement companies, reducing the cement companies’ carbon footprint and reducing waste at the same time.

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