This Device Can Double The 'Green' Life Of Bananas To Reduce Waste

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May. 24 2019, Updated 8:07 p.m. ET

Have you ever had your bananas go brown while sitting on your kitchen counter? Sadly, you're not alone. Half of the produce we buy on average is thrown away, and bananas are one of the most popular in that group. In order to extend the life of these bananas and other fresh produce, one company has created a filter that prevents them from ripening.

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"It’s Fresh!" is the startup behind a filter that can be used at any point of the produce supply chain. For example, while it's in delivery, on store shelves, or in homes. All it takes is placing the filter (what looks like a notecard at first glance) right near the food, like on top of a banana bundle. It’s an ideal scenario for keeping bananas green even longer, which is required by some grocers to even sell them.

The company set up a trial run in Costa Rica in the transportation of bananas, with one batch having the filters added and the other without it. At the conclusion, nearly all of the bananas that had the filters had a significant green color. It’s Fresh! believes that these filters can nearly double a banana’s lifespan to 70 days.

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“We are committed to reducing food waste globally and this means addressing issues throughout the production process, as well as in our supermarkets and homes,” Simon Lee, founder of It’s Fresh!, told Huffington Post UK. “Our findings enable us to demonstrate the power of this technology, reducing global waste as well as well as helping growers and importers across the world.”

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In addition to the transit sheets that are used for delivery, It’s Fresh! offers other ways to keep produce long-lasting. This includes packed-in filters in cartons, berry pads in clam-shell packaging, and labels that include the filtering technology. 

How do these filters exactly keep bananas from ripening? An e+ active layer absorbs an ethylene hormone that triggers the ripening effect. A food-grade BOPP film and a Tyvek membrane sandwich the active layer, and it’s completely safe when it’s in direct contact of food. There’s also no chemical releases in the absorption, making it safe for the environment.

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Bananas are a significant fruit to focus on as it’s one of the world’s most produced next to watermelons. According to the company, it can also extend the life of bananas in stores for at least two days, which is a significant amount when adding up waste. They’ve also seen better results with other produce like raspberries, cherries, avocados, and tomatoes.

Length of the filter’s use ultimately depends on how much ethylene it attracts, but it will last at least 18 months on product shelves. If packages are sealed and away from harmful chemicals, they can last for years. It’s Fresh! has a terrific solution to keep our produce fresh, and it’s a great way to cut back on food waste.

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