Home Forums Sustainable Island and Communities Exploring Ravenala fibres to make packaging

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    Dr Bahadur Goonesh Kumar and Geeta Ramparsad

    Description:
    The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg in 2002 “changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption “has been one of the highlighted elements of sustainable development. In line with this all countries present including Mauritius emphasizes on the need to promote a sustainable consumption.
    The Environment Protection (Banning of Plastics Bags) Regulations 2015 was implemented on 1st January 2016. Between the period February to November 2016, 67 importers were fined and the number of banned plastic bags seized amounts to 451 654. Several NGOs in Mauritius are requesting the banned of Styrofoam boxes which is another harmful element to the environment. The government wants to promote the use of eco friendly products such as using the ‘Vacoas’ bags, paper bags; cardboards which can easily be dispose of and are not harmful to the environment. One innovative product that is gaining popularity slowly is the leaves plates which are biodegradable disposable plates made from tree leaves.

    Mauritius is endowed with a lush green diverse of fauna and flora some of which are endemic to the island. The Ravenala plant is an invasive plant and which is very commonly found in Mauritius. It was introduced in Mauritius by Pierre Poivre during the French rule as an ornamental plant. Also known as Ravenala Madasgascariens and its design is part emblem of Republic of Madagascar. Following some preliminary experimentation, it was found that part of the Ravenala trees can be processed to make fibre which could be converted to make papers or card boards or yarns.

    Potential solutions:
    1. To process the Ravenala fibres, treat and convert into papers. Further exploration and analysis in terms of the durability, life cycle assessment and the usage needs to be investigated.
    2. Moulding of the papers into different products such as paper plates, cups, take away boxes and others.
    3. Looking at the feasibility, the environment impact and the cost implication needs to elaborate.
    4. To design and make an iconic water mark packaging and other products which represent a purely Mauritian label an innovative concept focused on the consumers providing quality and safety.

    Benefits
    • To promote the use of local fibres which are easily available in Mauritius.
    • To contribute positively towards protecting the environment by producing eco- friendly products.
    • To explore and experiment using Ravenala pulp and it’s leaves
    • To develop and implement authentic user friendly eco designs.
    • To promote the use of eco-friendly products such as bags, plates, take away boxes, etc.
    • To create an awareness on how Ravenala could be used as a raw material

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