In December 2018, it was revealed that researchers at the University of Sheffield were looking at possible uses for abandoned Christmas trees. This has, of course, implications for the environment as pine needles take a long time to decompose and "emit huge quantities of greenhouse gases" as they rot.
In order to save abandoned Christmas trees from the landfill and to contribute to a more circular economy, the innovators are developing processes that can utilize their pine needles and turn them into useful products such as food sweeteners and even paint. Cynthia Kartey, a Ph.D. student from the University of Sheffield's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, was spearheading the project: "My research has been focused on the breakdown of this complex structure into simple, high-valued industrial chemical feedstocks such as sugars and phenolics, which are used in products like household cleaners and mouthwash."
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