13 April 2006

Banana fruit to produce the UK’s first environmentally friendly envelope

A company in Trowbridge has gone bananas in its bid to be green by using the fruit to produce the UK’s first environmentally friendly and socially responsible envelope.

The Consortium, in Hammond Way, has developed the “Tru-Green envelope” to benefit poor and rural communities in developing countries by using natural crop fibres, and it will not cost any more than a normal envelope.

The envelope uses banana fibre and jute padding grown in north-east India instead of the usual plastic padding produced from oil. Mark Barnett, chief operating officer at The Consortium, said: “The main criterion is to have a design that is made from biodegradable and compostible materials that are, where possible, renewed by nature.

“Minimal processing of these materials to make the end product is the other important aim to save on energy costs.” This is the latest in a line of quirky green products from the Trowbridge-based firm which employs more than 250 people and has a £40m turnover.

The envelopes can also be made from other crop fibres and plant waste found in many developing countries, which generates employment where it is most needed.

The company developed the envelope with an inventor called Prakash Korde whose company Valueform specialises in producing packaging and other items from biodegradable plant materials.

They are also trying to minimise transport costs so they reduce their carbon emissions in the production of the envelopes. Mr Barnett said: “There is potential to work with farmers in the UK who produce waste natural crop fibres, which will make the whole process even more sustainable by removing the need to transport it long distances.”

The envelopes are being launched on the UK market this summer.

Source: Wiltshire April 12, 2006.

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