Now this is a sweet idea! (Pun intended.) A paper manufacturer in the UK has developed a recycling process that turns waste from cocoa beans into paper.

As the Environmental Leader reports, this new sustainable method, which is in production and certified for use in the food supply chain, could save the skins of the 3.5 million metric tons of cocoa beans each year.

What’s even better about the recycling process?

Unlike other cocoa recycling processes, it doesn’t require burning or gradual degradation of the fibers of the cocoa husk, which means the finished light-brown paper uses the cocoa as a natural color — with no artificial dyes needed.

Phil Wild, the CEO of the paper manufacturer James Cropper, told that this new paper reflects how far they can push the capabilities of their equipment, their expertise, and the paper itself.

“The result is a beautifully simple product that is entirely appropriate for its intended use; perhaps providing a starting point for other industries to consider how their waste materials could be better reused rather than disposed of,” he said.

The idea resulted from a request by cocoa and chocolate products manufacturer Barry Callebaut, which asked James Cropper to review its packaging in an effort to improve its waste recovery process and reduce its environmental footprint.

As a side note: earlier this year, James Cropper also opened what it says is the world’s first facility to recycle disposable coffee cups and reuse the pulp to make paper — a process that the company estimates could save about 2.5 billion paper cups from going to landfill in the UK alone.

Three cheers to James Cropper for their sustainable innovations. Hopefully, this story encourages other companies and manufacturers to look for new, more sustainable ways to reduce waste and recycle.

And with food waste being such a huge problem in the United States and globally, we wonder what other edible leftovers could be used for packaging or other uses? Ideas? Share them below!

Image Source: everjean/Flickr