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Turning fruit peel into perfume - Lords Committee explores the products that can be made from waste

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will on Tuesday 3 December hear from big business and global environmental experts on current and future products that can be made from waste. 

The Committee is exploring the potential to create a multi-million pound economy from waste - from agriculture, industry and households. Using new technologies, organic wastes such as orange peel and coffee grounds can be converted into fragrances, plastics or fuel.

This week's evidence session will explore in more detail what sort of market exists for these products, and what the environmental implications are.

In the first of two sessions, the Committee will take a closer look at the current and in-the-pipeline products, and how successfully they might be marketed. Witnesses are:

  • Colin Tattam, Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network (CI-KTN)
  • Peter Williams, CEO, INEOS Bio
  • Mike Goosey, former Manager of Biofuels R&D at Shell.

The session starts at 10.10 and areas that the Committee will cover include: which products will be on the market in five, ten and twenty years time; what the current and future market value is of products made from waste; how profit margins might be improved; whether all stages of research and development are adequately funded; and whether incentives are constructive or detrimental to a healthy market.

In the second session of the morning, which starts at 11.10, the Committee will hear about the environmental impact from the marketing and production of these products. 

The Committee will hear from:

  • Dr Michael Warhurst, Friends of the Earth
  • Professor Richard Murphy, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey
  • Dr Jim Philp, OECD

The areas of questioning the witnesses will face include: what the environmental benefits are of using bio-waste and waste gas as a feedstock; whether there are any other environmental problems caused by alternative uses of bio-waste and waste gas; and whether a complete ban on sending bio-waste to landfill is needed.

The evidence sessions will take place on Tuesday 3 December, starting at 10.40am in Committee Room 4.

The session will be webcast at and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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