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In Costa Rica, waste materials from organic banana production are mixed with recycled books to produce sustainable paper.

The global agricultural industry produces 42 million tons of bananas every year. One of the by-products from banana production are the stems, which contain a biodegradable fiber fit for manufacturing paper. As the first of its kind in the world to be sold on a commercial scale, TNF Ecopapers has developed ‘the banana paper’, which mixes banana stems and recycled paper from old textbooks.

The paper can be used for writing, but since the long fibers are tough, the paper is durable and well-suited for wrapping and cardboard boxes. The production process does not require the use of new wood-based materials. The innovation has sparked similar paper production using by-products from the coffee and mango industries.

Why you should care

Bananas are one of Costa Rica’s main exports. Utilizing an ordinarily wasted by-product to make paper can provide an extra revenue stream for farmers, and reduce the deforestation associated with paper production. 

How the Global Goals are addressed

Responsible Consumption and Production

Using banana stems to make paper is an efficient use of an agricultural by-product, helping to reduce deforestation.

Life on Land

Production of the banana paper involves no use of chemicals and saves between 17 to 20 trees per ton of paper produced.