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What do walnut forests in Kyrgyzstan have to do with cosmetics manufacturers in the Lower Rhine region? – Studium Generale Event at Rhine-Waal University

21 November 2023

On 21st November, Philip Schierning, Prof. Bockmühl (Rhine-Waal University) and Robert Beinio and Marian Rademacher (bbmed. product GmbH) presented the SUFACHAIN project to the general public at Campus Kleve.

The Rhine-Waal University (HSRW) regularly invites the general public to the so called Studium Generale – a lecture series on publicly relevant topics and related to the research of the HSRW. This semester the overarching topic of the lecture series is ‘Sustainability in the Region’.

The SUFACHAIN colleagues presented their work under the SUFACHAIN project and how the walnut forests in Kyrgyzstan link to the cosmetic industry in the Lower Rhine region.

The walnut forests in Kyrgyzstan provide an important livelihood for the local population, while the overexploitation of the world’s largest natural walnut forests is increasingly threatening their populations. The creation of sustainable agroforestry systems with walnuts is intended to reduce the pressure on these forests. In addition, the raw material efficiency in walnut processing has so far been low and walnut shells are often an unused waste product. In order to increase the local added value of these systems, improve raw material efficiency and reduce the pressure on natural forests, researchers of HSRW and their partners from bbmed from Kalkar in the Lower Rhine are looking at ways of using these supposed waste products in the international cosmetics industry, for example to replace microplastics in skin cosmetics such as scrubs.

Prior to the event, a related article based on an interview with Prof. Bockmühl and his work on microplastic substitutes has been published in the German newspaper NRZ and is worth a read: