Review article: Current research trends in fruit and vegetables wastes and by-products management-Scope and opportunities in the Estonian context
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Globally on an annual scale, considerable amounts of fruit and vegetables wastes (FVW) are generated in the agri-food industrial sector. Costs insured for safe disposal of FVW remains uneconomical and they can pose a serious environmental hazard if left untreated. However, FVW have high potential for reuse, recycle and recovery, which is an indication that there are productive, sustainable and affordable ways of reducing and tackling them at the industrial levels. Recent years have seen progressive innovative research on FVW management strategies, which has been developed with an idea of reducing wastes and fully exploiting its potential. Further, FVW represents a potential source of valuable compounds and bioactive ingredients. Today, there are many proposed innovative approaches for handling the FVW. These include reintroducing sub-standard fruit and vegetables (small sized or misshaped fruit and vegetable) in the market, reusing FVW for soil amendments, composting, or as an animal feed, and much more. In addition, the extracted bioactive compounds from FVW and by-products can find wide applications as a natural additive in food, cosmetics and/or in pharmaceutical applications. Currently, novel cost effective strategies have been developed for effective valorisation of agri-food wastes and by-products. The field of FVW management is still limited, thus leaving a wide gap for new ideas, novelty and applications of more efficient green techniques for complete utilization of agri-food wastes and by-products. Some of the interesting aspects on wastes and by-products management are discussed in relevance to Europe and in Estonia.