Perfect sliced on a bowl of cereal, blended in a smoothie, or just enjoyed by itself as an afternoon snack, the banana is the most popular fruit in the United States. According to the Lempert Report, 96 percent of U.S. consumers report buying bananas once a month. The fruit even comes with its own convenient packaging, a peel that doubles as a mess-free way to hold it. And when you’re done, you just discard the peel like any old wrapper. But should you?
Have you ever thought about where all those discarded peels end up? Yep, with the rest of the trash at the landfill, where they produce methane gas, a greenhouse gas 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide, as they rot. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, uneaten food accounts for 20% of methane emissions, which are a major contributor to global warming.
As it turns out, those peels don’t have to be trash. Eating the cooked peel along with the banana’s flesh is common in many Asian recipes, and as we peeled away the information, we found lots of other fantastic ways to use banana peels, from fertilizing tomato plants to making banana vinegar, as well as tips on helping bananas stay fresh and using overripe bananas. Here’s a handy infographic with all the ideas. Help us protect the peels!
To find recipes for overripe bananas, visit our Banana Pinterest board
Sustainable America Contributor