A 25 x 30 cm bag, with a resistance of 4 kg and made with banana residues, specifically with the 34,000 tons of pseudostem of the banana plant that is cultivated in Urabá.
According to official figures, each Colombian uses six plastic bags a week, of which only 5% are reused. The pollution that plastic produces on our planet is difficult to quantify given the seriousness of the problem. What is clear is that it is one of the greatest plagues of today's society. A plague that is destroying nature as we know it, leaving an inheritance for our children that they will have to fight against. Remember that a plastic bag takes more than 50 years to degrade.
Taking into account that Colombia is going to ban the use of plastic bags this year, the students have tried to find a solution to this problem, creating an alternative biodegradable bag, and on top of that, using banana waste. The stem of the banana is an agro-industrial waste with a great availability in Colombia and that has no use, and that can also be polluting.
How are ecological bags made
They obtain the cellulose from the stem and then mechanically treat it to crush it, the dirt is removed and subsequently subjected to a kraft cooking process. In this process, cellulose is separated from lignin, another plant component present in the stems. Finally, this cellulose goes through a drying and filtering process, in which the pulp with which the bags will be made is acquired.
The students are currently looking for the money needed to manufacture the bags on an industrial scale.
The search for alternatives to plastic is no longer something that is valued in the long term, currently, there are already several countries that are banning the use of plastic bags, as well as plates, cutlery and other single-use plastic items. These alternatives are the present of an industry that must already change its philosophy, to replace plastic with biodegradable ecological materials. As always, with political will, everything would go faster and better.