Paper Made from Banana Plants and Old Textbooks

The global agricultural industry produces 42 million tons of bananas every year. One of the by-products from banana production are the stems, which contain a biodegradable fiber fit for manufacturing paper. As the first of its kind in the world to be sold on a commercial scale, TNF Ecopapers has developed ‘the banana paper’, which mixes banana stems and recycled paper from old textbooks.

The paper can be used for writing, but since the long fibers are tough, the paper is durable and well-suited for wrapping and cardboard boxes. The production process does not require the use of new wood-based materials. The innovation has sparked similar paper production using by-products from the coffee and mango industries.

Why you should care

Bananas are one of Costa Rica’s main exports. Utilizing an ordinarily wasted by-product to make paper can provide an extra revenue stream for farmers, and reduce the deforestation associated with paper production.  

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