Just when you thought that banana peels were destined merely to be the tormentor of cartoon characters and video-game go-kart racers, science has finally found a use to nature's most slippery litter.
It turns out that peels can clean dirty water, too.
A chemist named Milena Boniolo from the Federal University of São Carlos, near São Paulo, has made a discovery that could potentially save thousands of banana peels from the garbage heap. When dried and ground into a powder, says Boniolo, peels have the ability to clean up polluted water.
For Boniolo, inspiration for finding a practical use for banana peels came after seeing so much of them going to waste. She estimates that her city's restaurants alone discard around four tons of the stuff each week. If her technique is implemented, it could be a low-cost alternative to the expensive methods used by industries currently -- which often use things like magnetic nanoparticles to clean water.