Banana Leaf Technology: A Viable Alternative to Single-Use Plastics
Every year, millions of tons of plastics, find their way into the sea, endangering the lives of precious aquatic species, some already greatly endangered. On a number of occasions, whales and seals have been found strangled by abandoned fishing gear. Plastics have also been found in fish and shrimps. These microparticles are responsible for the death of these aquatic species, passing through their digestive systems to pierce vital organs and block digestive tracts.
Plastic wastes (especially single-use items like straws, plastic packaging, and bottles) that do not get into the sea end up sitting in landfills for hundreds of years, not decomposing and contaminating the environment.
Statistically, the production of plastics has increased from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448 million tons in 2015. In fact, that number is expected to double by 2050. What’s worse? Experts claim that there would be more plastics in the sea than fish by 2050.
But one company is taking initiative and proffering solutions to rid us of this horrifying future.
Banana leaf technology
Inspired by the dream to create a sustainable solution to this environmental crisis, Tenith Adithyah, CEO of Tenith Innovations, formulated the Banana Leaf Preservation Technology, which use a natural preservative to enhance the durability and crushability of banana leaves, allowing them to hold more weight than it originally will.
“Over half of the world’s plastics and paper are used one time and then thrown away. This accounts for an annual cut down of 7 billion trees. Mother nature offers us everything we need and it’s up to humankind to make the right choice,” the company said. 
By enhancing the physical properties of banana leaves, they can last for as long as three years, making them a suitable, reusable replacement for plastic and paper. Other than their primary use, the enhanced banana leaves can also serve as garden fertilizer or animal fodder.
“The technology enhances cells, strengthens cell walls of leaves and prevents pathogenic agents from destroying the cells.“
These processed biomaterials are biodegradable, healthy, pathogenic resistant, human-friendly and completely eco-friendly. “A viable replacement for disposables, it prevents the destruction of around 7 billion trees annually,” the company said in a press release. 
Currently, the company offers 30 products that utilize this preservation method. They include boxes, plates cups, cones, cups, envelopes, etc. These products which are viable alternatives to plastics and paper are human-friendly, completely organic, healthy and free from chemicals. They are also compliant with the regulations of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
Since the technology allows for customization, more products are expected to be developed.
Adithyaa has also explained that the technology can be used on other types of leaves.
“Implementing this tech does not increase the need for banana plantations; thus, the current reforestation cycle will remain the same. The materials will be harvested from the existing banana trees since most of the leaves from the banana trees are not utilized.“
Our tech does not come into banana cultivation, as it is a cellular tech. Hence, it can be used on any materials made of plant cells. The tech can be applied on any leaves — not only the banana.
“The banana leaves are mostly utilized because of their widespread cultivation around the world. (Our tech) will not alter the cultivation demand or decrease it, but there is an average water footprint of 790 m3/ton for bananas,” he explained. 
Owing to its passion for innovation, the Banana Leaf Preservation Technology has received seven international awards and two national awards, including the International Green Technology Award, the Technology for the Future Award, and the prestigious International Environmental Award among others.
The company is currently looking to sell the tech license to any company, whether commercial or not, that shares in Adithyaa’s vision.
More on Adithyaa
The Banana Leaf technology was developed by Adithyaa Tenith, a young Indian innovation scholar. The technology was first formulated in his homemade laboratory in 2010 when he was just 11. His vision is to make Banana Leaf Technology available to everyone, regardless of geographical location or economic status.
Adithyaa currently serves as the CEO of Altruu, a social network that seeks to build digital bridges between humans and information
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- “Thailand Supermarket Ditches Plastic Packaging For Banana Leaves.” Forbes. Trevor Nace. March 25, 2019.
- “A novel eco-friendly technology to keep leaves green for 1 year without any chemicals.” Admin. Banana Leaf Technology. Accessed January 27, 2020.
- “Technology uses banana leaves as a biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic.” Inhabitat. Agravante Mariecor.September 20, 2019.
- “What You Need to Know About the Global Epidemic of Ocean Plastic Pollution.” Global Citizen. McCarthy. October 1, 2019.