Banana stems are given a second life in this workshop in Uganda.
“Uganda is the second largest producer of banana after India, and we produce around nine million tons of banana stems every year,” Harriet Nantale tells Local Heroes. “We can’t put all those stems to waste, so we just use them and make paper.”
Nantale owns and manages the paper craft workshop.
The workshop produces paper and also makes a number of products like notebooks, albums, photo frames, boxes and wedding cards.
“I was inspired because it’s mainly a job creation aspect,” Nantale explains. “Everything is handmade. The more people buy, the more jobs we create.”
Farmers bring banana stems to the workshop. They are paid by the weight of the stems in kilograms.
The stems are then cut using scissors and then cooked with soda ash to quicken the boiling process. After eight hours of cooking, the banana stem fibers are blended then lifted on to mosquito nets to hung dry.
Once dried, the banana stem fibers are turned to paper.
“Banana fibers makes almost all the product range in our workshop,” says Nantale. “We also use it as packaging for the soap, packaging for the glass that we recycle, so it cuts all through the workshop.”
She says the key to their work is the environment and the main element is the collective movement to protect the environment.
“We believe that if everybody learns to appreciate nature, learns to appreciate whatever they see, we believe we can make a better future,” Nantale concludes.
The Philippines is also a big producer of bananas. Maybe it could take a cue from Uganda in upcycling banana stems.
"If everybody learns to appreciate nature, we can make a better future"These women in Uganda create paper from the waste of banana plants.👏🙌 . Support them here: http://bit.ly/papercraftafrica