Going Bananas

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Today the majority of disposable goods are wrapped in man-made, often petro-based materials that usually last far longer than the items they protect. They are a threat to the environment also. These days, many companies are spending millions on R&D searching for more sustainable alternatives. But the answer might not always be in finding a new way but in going back to our old ways…

Bananas are present almost everywhere in the world. However very few know that the banana leaf can be a good source for packaging purpose. In India, it’s a very common sight, in the southern region of the country, to see people using banana leaves as a plate to eat food, to pack food items in it and even cooking some of the food items wrapped in it. I guess it was just a matter of time before the western countries caught up with our Indian eco-friendly ways! :)
This material has a wax-like surface, which is ideal for wet and greasy foods. It is ­flexible and therefore can be adapted to many types of packaging. The leaves last long after they are cut off the trees.
An Israeli designer named Tal Marco has taken a decidedly low-tech and refreshing approach to package design with his use of natural banana leaves. Banana leaves are highly ­flexible, easy to open and have a naturally waxy surface that is ideal for food applications. The packages are cut to form using die cutting technology. No glue is used. The unique qualities of this material allow packages to be opened simply by tearing the banana leaf along its natural perforation.
Although not a completely novel idea, Marco's design uses die-cut leaves that can be folded into numerous forms and lend themselves well to many retail applications. His design was showcased in Designboom's"Dining in 2015" design competition and the concept puts many of the most "environmentally friendly" packages on the market today to shame.


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