Those delicious little kernels in a jar of peanuts have plant-based protein to help you power through your hunger. But you may not realize that the rest of the peanut plant is a source of power in other ways as well. Reducing waste and using renewable resources contributes to sustainability. That’s why for Earth Week we want you to know how the entire peanut plant can be used to power land and livestock, and even as a biofuel so that nothing goes to waste, and the whole plant gets used.
Foliage as Fertilizer and Feed
As peanuts are harvested, they are separated from the green, vine-like plants from which they grow. While the peanuts have valuable protein for humans, the remaining plants also have nutrients that benefit the land. So instead of letting that organic matter go to waste, many peanut farmers use those plant byproducts as a source of fertilizer for subsequent crops. This helps them reduce fertilizer application, and reduce agricultural waste from the remaining roughage. Some farmers even bale hay from the peanut plants for use as a feed for cattle.
Hulls for Absorption, Soil Enrichment and Biofuel
Besides the foliage from the plants, there is another byproduct from peanuts that sometimes gets discarded: the hulls. The fibrous, crunchy shell that house those nutty kernels are often discarded (sometimes on the floor of bars and steakhouses). But instead of letting those hulls go to waste, some companies are now processing that biomass into pellets for a variety of applications.
Peanut hulls are processed into uniformly sized pellets that can be used as absorbents, soil additives, and even as a source of biofuel. That biofuel is then burned in conjunction with other carbon resources to produce energy. Thus, peanut pellets can be used as a renewable source of biofuel that helps contribute to energy production, while also eliminating waste from discarded hulls, and reducing use of non-renewable resources.
Besides providing us with those tasty and nutritious nuts we love, peanuts are a power plant that can feed livestock, fertilize the land, and provide fuel for energy. So snack on peanuts this Earth Week, and know that their power extends beyond their nutritional benefits. With the ability to use the entire plant and reduce waste, peanuts truly are perfectly powerful.