A group of young Peruvians has launched a project called ‘Bio Plant’ in order to help the world use less plastic. They have created biodegradable dishes made of banana leaves to reduce environmental pollution caused by excessive disposal of plastic. Every banana leaf plate used instead of a plastic one is one less item polluting our planet!
This innovative product can decompose within 2 months – it’s completely degraded naturally before the 60 days are up. Those commonly used plates and containers made of polystyrene (styrofoam) on the other hand take up to 500 years, causing untold amounts of damage to the flora and fauna of the oceans and wildlife on land.
With the co-financing of the Innóvate Peru Program (through the Bio Challenge contest aimed at supporting the development of innovative solutions focused on the sustainable use of the resources of our biodiversity), they were able to design and manufacture specialized machines – a presser, a shipper, and a die cutter – for the production of the biodegradable dishes. With the new equipment, they are able to manufacture 50,000 dishes monthly.
Josué Soto, the leader of the project, explained how they are working directly with small producers in the Peruvian Amazon, who are provided with a fair price and technical training to take advantage of the losses of banana cultivation.
The Chuwa Plant group has also made these dishes with paper and cardboard cellulose – all of which (including the banana leaf plates) are disposable (single use), resistant to various temperatures, liquids and can be used with any type of food.
Josué Soto said that they do not need to cut down banana trees or pluck their leaves as they break off when pickers remove the clusters of bananas from the tree.
The plates are rectangular in shape, measuring 22 cm x 16 cm x 3 cm (height) and are not carcinogenic because they do not contain styrene, a petroleum derivative that is found in other types of containers.
Bio Plant plates have already been in use in traditional and patron celebrations in various regions of the country. The group plans to enter the natural restaurants and ecological wineries market with their product. “The approximate sale price of our dishes is 100 to 120 soles (US$29.64-35.56) for 100 dishes, depending on the thickness of the sheet, but over time it may be more accessible to all consumers,” said Soto in Spanish.