Bananas are among the most famous and well-liked fruits apart from apples. Every year, the earth eats over 100 billion bananas. Per person, most consume about 30 pounds of bananas annually. Truly, the figure is enough to call out ‘bananas’. But what about the banana peels that we throw away after we finish eating the fruit?
Usually, when thrown outdoors, banana peels can take as much as two years to decompose and biodegrade. The amount of banana peel that is thrown away is staggering. For example, German supermarkets throw away as much as 288kg of banana peels every 60 seconds. A third of one of the most popular fruits is the peel. Moreover, bananas are so popular, countries need exports to completely cover the fruit’s demand. Furthermore, it takes between 19 and 30 days for bananas to reach Europe from the plantations where it is grown.
So, the amount of waste that banana peels generate is alarming, right? However, relax, breathe and calm down. In fact, we can use these banana peels that we get from nature to continue the cycle. We can think of the peels as waste material and not food waste. Furthermore, this waste material can be recycled to make a natural material that is sustainable. Thus, this way we can also extend the lifespan of the fruit.
Sarah Harbath’s Work With Banana Peels
Therefore, Sarah Harbarth is a Swiss designer who is working on the potential of banana peels. She turned them into sustainable material for construction, naming it KUORI. The images showed in the article by Sarah Habarth show the products in detail.
Harbarth managed to produce four completely different products from the peels. Moreover, the products are completely compostable. The first product from Harbarth is a pair of sunglasses. However, a marbled banana speckled frame is used for the pair instead of the usual tortoise-shell one.
Furthermore, for the second product, Harbarth combined banana peels and PLA materials that were recycled. As a result, she created a filament for 3D printing. One can use it to print whatever they like.
Harbarth then also created a shoe sole entirely out of banana peels and KUORI. This also gets rid of problematic microplastics being left on the ground when we walk with street shoes. In this product, Harbarth has replaced microplastics in shoe soles with recycled banana peels. Moreover, the soles not only keep the soil we tread on intact but also nourish it.
The final product confronts the detrimental practice of producing leather goods. So Harbarth came up with a recyclable, sustainable, and vegan alternative to leather. She fashioned it into a strap for wristwatches.
The Urgent Need To Recycle
Of course, environmental factors are significant when it comes to how long it takes for banana peels to degrade naturally. However, natural waste can be harmful to small scavenging animals that eat fruit peels. As such, it can end up injuring the whole environment. We must keep in mind that all the bananas we eat will end up as waste in the form of banana peels. Therefore, we should look to extend the fruit’s life cycle.
Harbarth recognized the particular ways by which we harm the environment along with all the details. Harbarth made the products with this in mind as well as to combat the wasteful and harmful practice of harvesting animal skins into leather. These also include the construction of micro-plastic and 3D printing. As such, Harbarth created these products including trendy items like watch straps and phone cases.
Harbath’s solution to the problems is, thus, to use banana peels to make such products instead. The approach is a solution to how we dispose of non-recyclable waste. However, to actually make a significant impact, all of us need to pitch in.