With the thought of helping the world use less dangerous materials than plastic, some young enthusiasts from Peru started a project named “Bio Plant”.
Their idea is to use banana leaves to make all types of dishes that are easily degradable and do not cause long-lasting pollution as plastic does. If you use a dish made of banana leaves you help reduce pollution on our planet.
Banana leaves are a natural material that can decompose in only two months and it completely degrades even before the sixty days are done. The plates that are most widely used are made of styrofoam or polystyrene which can take around 500 years to decompose naturally. This can cause huge amounts of damage to the nature it pollutes.
The Peruvian government made a contest through a program called Innovate Peru. The contest was about the support and development of new ideas that focus on the continuous use of resources of our biodiversity. This group of talented young people with the financial help of this program managed to design and construct everything they need for their eco-friendly dishes idea to become reality – a cutter, a presser, and a shipper. With all this equipment they will be able to make around 50,000 plates a month.
These dishes are mostly rectangular and have a size of around 22x16x3cm and they do not cause cancer because they don’t have styrene in them which is a derivative from petroleum that can be found in other kinds of dishes.
The project manager, Josué Soto, said that they are already working together with some small producers who can provide them with banana leaves for an affordable price.
There is another group called Chuwa Plant that makes similar plates using cellulose from paper and cardboard which are also nature-friendly. They’re also resistant to a variety of temperatures or liquids and they can be used with all kinds of food.
Josué also said that they don’t have to destroy or cut banana trees because when banana clusters are picked some leaves fall off naturally and they are collected.
These biodegradable dishes have already found their use in traditional celebrations all around the country, and the group already has plans to widen the use of their product by entering the winery market and some natural restaurants. When asked about the pricing, Soto said that their dishes right now stand at a price of around 100 to 120 Peruvian soles which are approximately around $30 for a hundred pieces. They hope that their product over time will become more accessible for all people.