In Uganda, a startup is converting banana waste into fibers that can be used in everyday items like carpets and hair extensions. Dubbed TexFad, the company manufactures biodegradable products from the bulky trunks of banana plants that are normally burnt or thrown away by farmers.
“When I looked around I saw that bananas grow abundantly in this country … we generate a lot of waste from the banana gardens,” says Kimani Muturi, TexFad’s managing director and founder. “The hair extensions we are making are highly biodegradable. After using, our ladies will go and bury them in the soil and they will become manure for their vegetables.”
Muturi also says the company will make 2,400 carpets in 2021, more than double that of last year. It will begin exporting to the US, UK, and Canada later this year. The company is also working to convert banana fibers into a cotton-like material suitable for clothes.
“Banana fiber is the fiber of the future,” Muturi adds.