Bananas for Plastics
Photo via flickr by puropei
Researchers at Queen’s University Belfast are pioneering a new technique for the use of banana plants in the production of plastic products.The Polymer Processing Research Centre at Queen’s is taking part in a €1 million study known as the Badana project. The project will develop new procedures to incorporate by-products from banana plantations in the Canary Islands into the production of rotationally moulded plastics. In addition to the environmental benefits, the project will increase the profitability of the plantation owners and help job security for those working in the area.
Once the fruit has been harvested, the rest of the banana plant goes to waste. An estimated 25,000 tonnes of this natural fibre is dumped in ravines around the Canaries every year.
According to Mark Kearns, Rotational Moulding Manager at the Polymer Processing Research Centre in Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, the natural fibres contained within the plants may be used in the production of rotationally moulded plastics, which are used to make everyday items such as, oil tanks, wheelie bins, water tanks, traffic cones, plastic dolls and many types of boats. The banana plant fibres will be processed, treated and added to a mix of plastic material and sandwiched between two thin layers of pure plastic providing excellent structural properties. The project gives a whole new meaning to ‘banana sandwich.’
via Science Daily