Using less plastic is in the program of enormous groups and organizations around the globe. A project called ‘Bio Plant’ was launched by a group of young Peruvians to help the world in this idea. By creating biodegradable dishes made of banana leaves they help in reducing the environmental pollution influenced by excessive disposal of plastic. Their moto is:
“Every banana leaf plate used replaces a plastic one, and it decreases polluting our planet!”
The decomposition of this innovative product lasts about 2 months. Comparing to those commonly used plates and containers made of polystyrene (styrofoam) that take up to 500 years, it’s completely degraded naturally before the 60 days are up. Polystyrene (styrofoam) causes untold amounts of damage to the wildlife on land and flora and fauna of the oceans.
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 co-financing of the Innóvate Peru Program. This program went through the Bio Challenge contest aimed at supporting the development of innovative solutions. It is focused on the sustainable use of the resources of our biodiversity. The new equipment used for the production of biodegradable products allows manufacturing 50,000 dishes monthly.
According to the leader of the project Josué Soto, they are working directly with small producers in the Peruvian Amazon. The producers are provided with technical training and fair price to take advantage of the losses of banana cultivation.
The Chuwa Plant group, which is Commercial & Industrial · Environmental Conservation Organization, has also made these dishes with paper and cardboard cellulose. All these products, including the banana leaf plates, are disposable and can be used once. They are resistant to various liquids, temperatures, and usable with any type of food.
For the productions, according to Josué Soto, they do not need to cut down banana trees or pluck their leaves. They use clusters of bananas from the tree when pickers remove them.
The plates may have different shapes, but usually, they are rectangular, measuring 22 cm x 16 cm x 3 cm (height). Besides, they are not carcinogenic because they do not contain styrene (a petroleum derivative), which is found in other containers.
In various traditional and patron celebrations regions of the country, people have already used Bio Plant plates. The plan of the group is to enter the ecological wineries market and the natural restaurants with their product. Soto announced:
“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.”