Inside the wide Colombian natural fiber set is the banana stem fiber, known
as Calceta de Plátano, which is a material present in several regions of the country and is a fiber extracted from the pseudo stem of the banana plant (Musa paradisiaca) as a regular maintenance process. Colombia had a production of 2.8 million tons in 2007 and 2008 corresponding to 8.2% of
the international production, number that have been growing over the years.
This material was selected to be studied because it is not being used by
farmers due to it being perceived as a waste from the banana harvest and a
propagation pest agent inside the planting. Also, the Calceta doesn´t have industrial applications in Colombia since there is not enough concrete knowledge that informs us about the properties of the material and the possible applications it could have. Therefore, the project identified potential design attributes that the banana stem fiber could have for product development. As a result, we found great attributes in the material and we decide to applicate this new knowledge developing a product.
According to the environmental, functional, aesthetics and technical attributes found in the material, we consider that the best application is the food packaging. The idea with the banana stem fiber package is to combat the pollution that is caused by the harmful plastic packages used in most of the restaurants in the country, they are only used for a short amount of time but can take up to 1000 years to fully degrade, just a small quantity of restaurant chains are using cardboard packages and even they don't worry about the final disposition of them.
Traditionally some food had been packed in banana stem fiber, but now this material is not used as a package. The traditional “tamal”, a typical dish in the country is wrapped in banana leaf and it is even served on it. That's why the project is focused in traditional food, to have a wide impact inside the regions of the country and its gastronomy and to try to return traditional its use as a package.
The banana stem fiber package is created to replace the plastic and paper packages, offer a natural experience to the user, use a waste material and turn it into a more valuable product, create awareness in the user, customer and farmer, and generate sustainable development alternatives in local communities.
The banana stem fiber package works to contain small or large-thin pieces of food, like yucca chips, potato chips, banana chips, small sausages or pork rinds; it allows the consumption of food with sauces or dressings.