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Banana Stem Fiber Package

The banana stem fiber package is created to replace the plastic and paper take away food packages including sachets and sauce containers

Photo of Brayan Pabón
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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.

Idea Title

Banana Stem Fiber Package

Where are you / your team located?

We are from Bogotá, Colombia.

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

The design of this package replaces the use of sachets and containers for sauces (ketchup, mustard, etc), since it integrates the main packaging, and container of sauce. In addition, being made into a natural fiber it is completely biodegradable

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

This concept eliminates single-use sachet for liquid consumer products (sauces).

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

Main banana producing regions in Colombia and Ecuador.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

We plan to introduce our product through small local business as target market, and when the product gets a more mature stage we can offer banana fiber packages to chain restaurants. As an obstacle we find the technical formulation of the material. For this, we are working on the formulation of a standard material which includes banana fiber and some biodegradable components that improve its structure, but retains several of the original characteristics of banana fiber.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

The program will help to get funds and contacts that facilitate the necessary technological development, especially for the manufacture of a paper made of the banana stem fiber, wich is the next step in the packaging development.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

The idea started as an university project and we keep developing it.

Tell us about your work experience

We are a team of industrial designers, we have worked in sustainability projects and product design.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Brayan!

It is good to see you in the challenge.

What does the end-to-end process (i.e. supply chain) look like for this packaging?

How could you make it scalable?

Your idea post is locked for editing at 11:30 pm Pacific Time today.