As America Recycles Day commences on November 15, Chiquita Brands International said it is proud to announce its efforts to minimize food waste and promote its sustainability efforts. Each year, millions of Americans take part in America Recycles Day; dedicated to raising awareness for recycling and reducing waste. Chiquita said it continues to work daily to meet its goal to create zero fruit waste by 2020 by repurposing and donating bananas that are not sold.
“Bananas are the world’s fourth most important food crop, making them essential food for millions of people all over the world,” said Jamie Postell, Director of Sales North America for Chiquita. “At Chiquita, we strive to reduce environmental pollution and food waste by finding ways to repurpose our unused bananas.”
The company’s efforts extend to a purée plant in Costa Rica, where an average of 65,000 tons of unused bananas are converted into banana purée and flour each year.
Bruised bananas that do not meet the high-quality standard for commercialization are given to local farmers who use them to feed their animals. The organization said it also gives back to its farmers by providing organic fertilizer and educational support around how to use the fertilizer.
Chiquita owns a machine known as a biodigester that operates without fuel or electricity and filters waste water to create a fertilizer rich in plant nutrients. By transforming this waste, Chiquita is reducing the organic load that would typically be discarded into nearby lagoons.
Even the inedible parts of the banana plants are repurposed and put to good use. For example – banana leaves, trunks and stems are left in the field as mulch that returns organic matter to the soil, protects it from erosion, conserves moisture and inhibits weed growth. These composting trenches on the farms become a favorite feeding place for birds, deer, insects and frogs too.