Friday, July 26, 2024

Turning bananas into food packaging

Papyrus Australia has completed a proof-of-concept trial which has successfully demonstrated the commercial viability of using 100% refined banana fibre in the production of moulded food packaging such as pizza boxes, burger clamshells, meal containers and serving dishes.

Papyrus Australia’s Managing Director Ramy Abraham Azer says this is the first time such a feat has been achieved.

“Whilst we have made moulded products before in Australia, China, and Egypt, all were from fibre prepared under laboratory conditions and with very limited moulding runs. We are now able to produce ‘tailored’ fibre on daily basis at our factory in Sohag that is subsequently moulded at a stock standard moulding factory for a whole shift.”

A sustainable option

With refined banana fibre previously overlooked as an option by many industry experts, this successful trial is set to have a huge impact – not only on the way we package our food in the future, but also on the sustainability of our planet.

Banana fibre is sourced from banana palm trunks and is a by-product of banana production, meaning it’s renewable and already grown in abundance. There are approximately 3,000 hectares of banana plantations in Australia and it is estimated that globally, banana plantations cover more than 10 million hectares, with approximately 2.2 billion tonnes of agri-waste created annually.

Papyrus Australia’s world-first, patented process of converting banana palm trunk into refined fibre is said to be zero waste and chemical free.

The banana fibre is water resistant and fire retardant, and yet naturally decomposes in landfill.

“This is a world first and opens the door to using the millions of tonnes of waste banana plantations create every year to produce clean, sustainable, environmentally friendly, degradable packaging products to displace the plague of plastic packaging harming our planet,” Mr Azer says.

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