From discarded banana leaves to takeaway plates
Two young Peruvian entrepreneurs, Josué Soto and Rolf Torres Lizárraga, are turning discarded banana leaves into disposable food trays in an attempt to eliminate the use of plastic plates. Each plate is only made from leaves that break off or fall from banana trees when clusters of bananas are harvested.
Their first product, Bio Plant, is a rectangular-shaped plate, which decomposes within 60 days. For their efforts, they won the Bio Challenge award from Innóvate Perú, which supports innovative solutions using the country’s biodiversity sustainably. The award included seed capital that they used to buy a presser, a shipper and a die cutter — machinery needed to produce the dishes. The company they created, Chewa Plant, makes 50,000 Bio Plant dishes monthly.
Soto and Lizárraga and their team work directly with banana farmers in the Peruvian Amazon, who are paid fair trade prices. Currently, the Bio Plant sells for between 29–35 US cents per dish.
Next step for Chewa Plant is to get Bio Plant into eco-friendly restaurants and beverage companies.
ABOVE Josué Soto and Rolf Torres Lizárraga