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Smart Construction Materials: Banana Leaves

Alice-India Garwood
by Alice-India Garwood on April 10, 2019

We have talked your ear off for over a year about the crucial nature of sustainable construction materials. Anything we as an industry can do to reverse the devastating effects of global warming is a good thing. We’ve turned to materials, processes and efficient construction techniques to take on this battle.

The next step in the smart construction materials path could be one of the most unlikely yet.

Could banana leaves have a place in construction?

Bananatex is actually a fashion brand that utilises the efficiency, sustainability and strength of banana leaves to make iconic clothing and accessories.

banana leaves, banana, bananatex, Bobtrade, Sustainable, Construction, Materials, Building, Supplies, Alternatives[Photo Credit: Vangardist]

Before we send you to sleep with fashion chat, the founders of Bananatex have worked with banana leaves incredibly closely and investigated it as an alternative to plastic. Not only this, but they have explored the potential to replace construction materials which have an otherwise damaging effect on the planet. Whether that’s due to the materials used in production or the method itself, bananas grow in such abundance, similar to cork or bamboo, that farming the leaves does not require a long period of time allowing for regrowth.

"Could banana leaves be the future of construction?"

Construction with plants isn’t new. We’ve seen self healing houses in Jakarta made of plants. We’ve even seen temporary shelters made out of mushroom roots!

So what’s holding us back from delving right in to the banana leaf hype in the construction industry?

Well, it’s as simple as this: Bananas and their leaves are biodegradable. Obviously.

banana leaves, banana, bananatex, Bobtrade, Sustainable, Construction, Materials, Building, Supplies, Alternatives[Photo Credit: QWSTION]

If you can’t predict the exact life cycle of a construction material, you’re bound to be a little hesitant to work with it. As with Mycellium (mushroom root extract), it could be useful for festivals as an opportunity to build something that can biodegrade back in to the soil of the field. This will reduce the potential for left over debris or harm to the surrounding wildlife. Pretty sweet!

"Bananas grow in such abundance, similar to cork or bamboo, that farming the leaves does not require a long period of time allowing for regrowth."

What’s exciting for the future is the idea that, as with timber, we can find ways to extend the lifespan of banana leaves. We see no reason why banana leaves couldn’t be woven and reinforced like bamboo.

Whilst we don’t have banana leaves available for you to experiment with, we do have a huge range of construction materials on offer on Bobtrade.com. From sustainable insulation and bricks, to your classic sand and plaster, we’ve got you covered. Head over to Bobtrade.com to find out more about how you can get exclusive early access to the platform.

Bobtrade, Sustainable, Construction, Materials, Building, Supplies, Alternatives

AUTHOR
Alice-India Garwood

Alice-India Garwood

Content Marketing Executive at Bobtrade. Interested in design, sustainability and the history of construction. I love all things indie and theatrical.