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Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
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on Monday, 19 December 2011
in Mother Nature's Vegetation

This Paper is Bananas!

b-a-n-a-n-a-sBananas are great because they are truly a convenience food. They are portable, inexpensive, and high in potassium. You can make puddings, breads, and smoothies from bananas. Allrecipes.com has a little over a thousand banana recipes listed on their site. But there is one recipe they aren’t going to have and it’s for banana paper. Harry Johansing, “The Banana Paper Guy”, does have the recipe for it though and the recipes for several other papers made of sugar, coffee, mango, and lemon. Those may sound like flavors better suited for ice cream but he likes to makes paper out of them instead. He’s been making tree free paper from agricultural waste products since 1997. 

The manufacturing of traditional paper has always been destructive to ecosystems and it’s not just about the cutting down of countless trees. The native trees that are logged (sometimes illegally) are not always replaced with more native trees instead they are replaced with fast-growing tree plantations. These plantations are poor substitutes for the plants and animals that called the former forest home. The bleaching of paper pulp releases toxic chemicals into the environment that could harm humans. Furthermore, the whole milling process uses a whole lot of energy and water. Paper companies have responded to these issues by adopting better practices like reusing water during manufacturing and practicing sustainable forestry. But it’s still not quite perfect and Mr. Johansing figured he could do better and provide a quality product at the same time.

While on a Costa Rican vacation he learned to make notebooks out of locally available natural fibers. He found that over 10 million metric tons of pinzote, the stalk that bananas grow on is thrown out and partially decomposes causing “a severe impact on the surrounding ecosystems, the detriment of rivers and underground waters, also the massive reproduction of flies and nauseous smells.” By using a combination of pinzote, which is mostly made of water, and post consumer materials like newspapers a completely sustainable new paper product is made.

And what about paper that claims to be made from recycled materials? In 2008 Mr. Johansing spoke with the website blueplanetgreenliving.com and he explained,” If you speak to a paper mill representative, they’ll tell you that the label “recycled paper” means nothing. Let me give you an example: In the paper mill, at times they’ll create a larger sheet of virgin pulp than they need. Say they cut a stack of 11 x 17-inch sheets of new paper in half. One half of the stack is 8 ½ by 11-inch sheets that they put in reams and sell as new product. The other half, also 8 ½ x 11-inch sheets of virgin paper, is now excess. It might go back in the mill in rerun, or it might be used in another paper product and be labeled “recycled” without ever hitting a consumer process. The label “recycled paper” can be very misleading to consumers.”

To purchase banana paper please visit ecopaper.com.

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Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. Samina and her husband believe that sustainability starts in the home and try to live their lives as simply as possible without compromising comfort.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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