Peruvian Innovators Create Biodegradable Plates Using Banana Leaf

Chuwa Plant's products are made from by-products of the Peruvian banana harvest and take only two months to decompose and naturally degrade.

26.11.2019 | by Kezia Parkins
Photo by Vesela Vaclavikova on Unsplash
Photo by Vesela Vaclavikova on Unsplash

Led by a pair of Peruvian entrepreneurs, Chuwa Plant is a new company aiming to commercialise and manufacture biodegradable, disposable plates made from the by-products of the Peruvian banana harvest.

Aiming to eradicate single-use plastic, Josué Soto and Rolf Torres Lizárraga have found a friend in the banana tree, abundant in their native Peru.

Their company Chuwa Plant’s first products are plates free of plastic, styrene, petroleum and other carcinogenic components, and are made with by-products of the banana harvest. The duo recently launched the plates under the brand name Bio Plant.

Josué Soto and Rolf Torres Lizárraga

While a plastic plate could take up to anywhere between 400 – 1000 years to break down, Soto explained to La Republica that Bio Plant plates take only two months to decompose fully and naturally degrade.

Even when plastic does eventually break down, after centuries, it is not “biodegrading.” It becomes microplastics which ends up plaguing the planet and bodies of generations to come.

The plates are made using only the leaves that break off or fall from the banana trees and the stem of the tree which is left after the harvest. No trees are cut down, interfered with or harmed for production.

Soto explained that the Chuwa Plant team works with banana farmers in the Peruvian Amazon, who are given a fair price and the training needed to get more value from their harvest.

In a Facebook post, Chuwa Plant said: “Our team travels constantly to meet and advise the best organic banana producers in Peru, in order to get great stems to produce biodegradable dishes. In addition, banana cultivation is carried out throughout the year in Peru, therefore, next year we will produce continuously.”

Notably, the plates resemble natural leaves — something that will likely appeal to the anti-plastic sentiments of our current generation. They are also resistant to various temperatures, liquids and can be used to serve any type of food.

Chuwa Plant recently won Bio Challenge, a government programme organised through Innóvate Perú that supports the development of innovative solutions by sustainably using the resources of the country’s biodiversity.

With the co-financing they acquired from winning,  they were able to design and manufacture specialised machinery – a presser, a shipper, and a die cutter – for the production of their innovative banana leaf bio-plates.

With the new equipment, they are able to manufacture 50,000 dishes monthly.

Soto and Lizárraga’s plates have already been trialled at numerous events and festivals in Peru and now the pair are planning to commercialise to the eco-hospitality market.

Source: La Republica

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