Brazilian Farmers innovate: Turning banana peels into bioplastic film


A recent study led by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) and the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) has pioneered a groundbreaking method to transform banana peels into bioplastic films. This research offers significant insights into sustainable packaging solutions and highlights the potential of Brazilian agricultural innovation.
Given this context, it is crucial to understand the aspects and potential of this innovative approach, aiming for efficient and sustainable use of banana waste. This analysis offers new possibilities for bioplastic production and emphasizes the importance of integrated approaches and reliable data to guide policies and practices aligned with sustainability.

Developing bioplastic films
Through their research, the scientists found that banana peels can be turned into bioplastic films using simple, eco-friendly pre-treatments with water or diluted acidic solutions. This method allows for the complete transformation of banana peels into bioplastic without producing waste, thus presenting a significant advancement in sustainable packaging technology. The study provides a solid foundation for implementing sustainable practices and strategic planning in the packaging sector.
By understanding the process and benefits of turning banana peels into bioplastic films, resources and efforts can be channeled more effectively, promoting the recovery and sustainable use of agricultural waste. This approach not only helps reduce plastic waste but also aids in environmental conservation and the mitigation of climate change impacts.

Photo credit: Mariana Franzoni

Sustainable practices and environmental concerns
The transformation of banana peels into bioplastic films requires implementing sustainable practices and considering important environmental aspects. Key practices include mild types of pre-treatment that enhance the bioplastic films’ antioxidant aspects and UV protection. Additionally, adding biodegradable polymers like carboxymethylcellulose improves the films’ mechanical element, making it similar to conventional plastic.
By implementing these sustainable practices, long-term productivity and sustainability of bioplastic films can be ensured, thus contributing to environmental conservation and the well-being of communities. These integrated approaches are essential for promoting a sustainable future for the packaging industry.

You can find this full study at: Silva, R.D.; Azeredo, H.M.C.; Pacheco, T.F.; de Santi, A.D.; Manarelli, F.; Bozzo, B.R.; Otoni, C.G.; Brienzo, M. “From Bulk Banana Peels to Active Materials: Slipping into Bioplastic Films with High UV-Blocking and Antioxidant Properties.” Journal of Cleaner Production, 2024.