Why it’s not just one wasted away banana


It’s not just one banana wasted

This morning I saved this banana from being thrown into the bin and being wasted. This is a regular occurrence at work, last week I saved seven.  No one owned up to owning them and I overheard someone saying “just throw them away”. I darted into the kitchen, took them and made a banana, coconut and pineapple jam which was divine. 

I saw one of the many culprits about to throw this banana into the bin today. And so I asked why. The response “It look’s weird. I don’t like it when they’re like that”. Eh?! I don’t understand. What is weird about the pictured banana? What is the signifying factor that defines “like that”, which makes banana worthy of the bin?

With that banana Richard made a delicious banana bread. Which I took back in to the office rather smugly. The repurposed banana.

The love-waste paradox

Bananas are one of the most consumed fruits in the UK. Paradoxically they’re also one of the most wasted fruits in the UK. Approximately 160 million bananas are thrown away every year. Banana’s are not reknowned for their green and ethical status as it is. Look a little deeper into the banana trade and understand what it takes to get those bananas onto the table, for them then to only be thrown away, is tragic. 

Implications of waste

When you throw away that banana, you’re throwing away much more than just one banana:

  • The resources that go into making that single banana are wasted
    • The energy that goes into the growing, harvesting, processing and transportation has gone to waste
    • The vast amounts of water used thorough-out the process are wasted. A single banana (approx 120g) uses approximately 98 litres of water
  • Money. You pay for these items, so when you throw them away, you’re throwing your money in the bin too
  • You’re throwing away the effort and labour by those working hard to get these banana to you. Lets not beat around the bush these people are often underpaid and exploited for our consumptional benefits
  • When throw in your bin and not composted it sits in landfill. It’ll stay there decomposing, producing methane, a greenhouse gas, which has a greater detrimental impact than CO2 and will produce leachates which can contaminate water supplies

Repurposing

Thinking how something can be better used is a methodology that should be applied in all aspect of our lives. For bananas, there are endless things that can be done for those less than “perfect” fruits:
  • Banana bread – best made with overripe fruit
  • Smoothies and other blended drinks
  • Freeze them and add them to smoothies whenever you need them
  • Frozen bananas also taste like ice cream. Peel them, pop them into the freezer and let them defrost a little and eat whole  Maybe add some melted chocolate ontop
  • Cake. Banana’s are sweet, so they’re great in cakes that don’t use refined sugar
  • Jam – I’ve got an excellent recipe for a banana, coconut and pineapple jam which I’ll share soon
  • Dry them for banana chips. I’ve got a dehydrator but you can dry bananas in any oven, on a low temperature for several hours. The Livestrong site has some advice
  • Muffins can be frozen and taken out when needed

Keep an eye out over as I’ll share a range of banana-related tips, recipes and ideas to help stop the ridiculousness that is “this perfectly fine banana looks weird so I’m going to lob it in the bin”….

Now breathe Fenton, breathe.

Resources and further reading

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/10/how-much-water-food-production-waste http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Bananas%20v1.1.pdf
The Human and Environmental Impact of Bananas
http://www.foodwastenetwork.org.uk/content.html?contentid=11

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