Side streams from banana plantations are perfectly suited as raw material for biodegradable plastics. This is the conclusion of researchers from Wageningen based on interviews and experimental research. Especially freshly harvested green bananas that are not suitable for export or local consumption have potential. For Colombia, this concerns 15 to 20 percent of the total export banana production.
In a proof of principle, the researchers demonstrated that it is feasible to extract starch from green bananas and convert it into a plastic film. This process still needs optimization, the researchers would like to pursue it with local and European partners willing to invest in a follow up project.
The results were achieved within the "Seed Money Project 'Starch from residues for starch plastics in Colombia'" on which Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, the Dutch Embassy in Colombia, 2 Dutch companies and 4 Colombian partners worked together.
The aim of a Seed Money Project is to connect parties so that they 'discover' together what the possibilities are for international activities. This worked out well and the subject fits well within the strategy of the Colombian response and the goals of the Dutch Top Sector Agri-Food.