With only 12 percent of the plant being used, the farming of bananas is a particularly wasteful form of agriculture. After harvest, the trunk-like structure that’s left behind called the pseudostem is thrown away because it will never bear fruits again. In an effort to bring new value to that waste, Ugandan startup TexFad is turning it into high-quality, sustainable textile products.
The process begins by first splitting the tree trunks in half with machetes and then feeding them through a cutting machine. The machine turns the trunks into long, leathery fibers that are hung to dry before being processed and turned into environmentally friendly products like carpets, textiles, and biodegradable hair extensions.
“The hair extensions we are making are highly biodegradable. After using, our ladies will go and bury them in the soil, and they will become manure for their vegetables,” Kimani Muturi, the startup’s founder, told Reuters.
Muturi hopes the material will one day replace some synthetic fibers and serve as an alternative to paper. The company is also exploring ways to soften the banana fibers to use them for making clothes.
Currently, carpets make up the bulk of the products produced by TexFad. By the end of the year, the company expects to produce as many as 2,400 carpets and plans to start a delivery service of its products to the UK, US, and Canada in the coming months.
Other companies have also found ways to turn banana waste into eco-friendly products, including an Australian startup that’s turning banana Agri-waste into biodegradable and fully recyclable plastic.
Image source: TexFad