In recent years, it has been increasingly expressed that alternatives, for example, animal leather or non-degradable plastic must be seriously considered. The causes of global warming and climate change are well known and are predominantly considered anthropogenic. The consumption of natural resources, the consumption of non-degradable materials, the pollution of nature, the production of greenhouse gases, species extinction on an unprecedented scale. These reasons are completed by insufficient compensatory measures such as the promotion and cultivation of renewable raw materials and the consumption of them.
KUORI: Upcycling of organic waste material from the banana peel
The import of bananas in Switzerland has increased continuously over the last decades. In 2019, according to statistics, it amounted to approximately 97,000 tons worth 104 million Swiss francs.
A large proportion of bananas are not utilised by consumers and are thrown away, or do not reach them at all. In terms of general food waste, it should be emphasised that 1/3 of the banana fruit consists of the peel.
KUORI describes the research work of new materials from banana peels and their applications in the sense of the Circular Economy. The concept deals with further processing of the peels, thus expanding the cycle of the banana fruit and significantly reducing the amount of its waste.
Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in Switzerland and are offered to the consumer exclusively through imports throughout the year. This has an enormous ecological and economic impact. Why don't we pay more attention to this actual waste product, when we already transport the banana 20-30 days steadily cooled to Europe?
The areas of application are very diverse. Depending on the processing and use of different components, KUORI can be applied both as a material in the textile sector, as a sustainable single use object, in the packaging sector or 3D printing. Within the Bachelor Praxis at the Institute of Industrial Design, Basel four different products were created from the banana peel. Different production methods were tested. One successful experiment, for example, was the production of 3D filament and ultimately a 3D printed cylinder. Due to the fiber composite of the banana peel in the material, the resulting object has a higher stability compared to ordinary PLA (Polylactide).
So why not print with food waste in the future?
Please Note: Only food waste from the banana industry within Switzerland was used for the experiments.
The initiative @Mehralszwei from Zurich (procurement & processing of bananas) and the @Öpfelfarm from Thurgau (drying of banana peels) have helped with this.
In order to be able to apply the sustainability idea in the context of banana production in the best possible way, only fair trade and organic bananas were used.
The KUORI concept was developed as part of a bachelor's degree program at the Institute of Industrial Design in Basel and could be implemented as a project during this time. It has been listed thematically in the final bachelor thesis and has been paused by the successful completion of the study in December 2020. It is therefore in the initial phase.The project would very much like to be continued.
Circular Economy? All Banana or what? KUORI, a biodegradable Alternative Material (Video)
IKT, Windisch Brugg, HGK Institut Industrial Design, Basel