Peel Power

A pile of orange slices, lemon slices, and grapefruit slices


Recharge your Apple phone… with an orange peel?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying Yes! It’s Apples AND oranges!

Recycling batteries? Now that’s a bright idea! But the harsh acids used to recycle batteries still make nasty pollutants. These include chlorine gas and nitrogen oxides that can poison sea animals and create smog. Can we do anything about this?

Madhavi Srinivasan and Dalton Tay at Nanyang Technological University say the answer is… in the garbage! The researchers think batteries can be recycled in an eco-friendly way using FOOD WASTE.

The recipe? Harsh acids were replaced with fruity citric acid and orange peels. The team crushed the peels and some old batteries into powder. The powder reacted with the fruit acid, recovering metals for making new batteries.

Results? The fruity mixture was as effective as standard recycling methods — but with NO toxic pollutants! What’s more, the remade batteries had a max charge equal to store-bought batteries.

Turns out, your dead battery just needs some juice — literally!

Reference: Wu, Z., Soh, T., Chan, J. J., Meng, S., Meyer, D., Srinivasan, M., & Tay, C. Y. (2020). Repurposing of Fruit Peel Waste as a Green Reductant for Recycling of Spent Lithium-Ion Batteries. Environmental Science & Technology, 54(15), 9681–9692.