Do not go bananas. Go for 0 kg/ min! – Part III Bananas

German version: Vision 0kg/min – Teil III Bananen + 5 leckere Rezeptideen

It’s our responsibility!

Vote for my text „Vision 0 kg Bananen pro Minute“ at the #reducefoodwaste blogger award 2017  (german version but same content)!

During this trilogy we passed the hot climate of Latin America, cold middle Europe; pesticides, organic agriculture, plastic bags and food waste.

The last 2 articles (Part I and Part II) covered a large spectrum. What else do I have to say?

It was impressive to see what a long transportation way bananas have, how much effort is put into them and how many bananas in our western world end up as food waste: I often mentioned the number 288 kg/min, that’s the quantity of bananas which is thrown away by all the German supermarkets in one minute.

In this article, I will introduce 2 other numbers: 405 kg/min and 0 kg/min.

1.Facts concerning banana consumption in private households

All the German supermarkets throw away 288 kg per minute. I guess everybody who read this article series knows this sentence by heart. Why is the title of the final text 0 kg/min?

The text series has not covered food waste of consumers yet. Here I want to present the magnitude of banana waste in private households as short as possible.

„Whether it’s in the US, in Switzerland or Great Britain, we stated similar data everywhere: Ultimate consumers throw away 20% of their edibles unused. “(Spiegel online, 2015) Translation[1]

Based on this rule I figured out how many bananas German, Austrian and Swiss households waste:

Every German person eats on average 10.5 kg of bananas per year[2]. According to this source it is the quantity of the bananas which the person eats (not the quantity of bananas which the person has bought). This means that every German person buys 13.125 kg of bananas per year, eats 10.5 kg and throws 2.625 kg per year away.

81 000 000 people are currently living in Germany[3], so they waste 212 625 000 kg of bananas per year[4].

In one minute, all the private households in Germany throw away 405 kg bananas[5]! Thus, they waste more bananas than all the retailers in their country!

I also did this calculations for Austria and Germany:

The individual consumers in these 3 countries throw 549 kg[6] of bananas away every minute!

In monetary terms: It’s more than 653,31 € per minute[7]!

Germany Austria Switzerland Total
Total imports per year 1 400 000 000 kg [8] 102 299 000 kg 72 000 000 kg 1 581 297 000 kg
Wasted per capita and year 2,625 kg 2,64 kg 2,5 kg On average 2,58 kg per capita
Wasted by private households 212 625 000 kg (15,1%) 54 489 600 kg (53,27%) 21 250 000 (27,03%) 288364600 kg (18,24%)
Wasted by retailers 149 299 000 kg [9](10%) No data No data

In total 30% of the bananas imported to Germany are thrown away, so 4,9% are allotted to industry, gastronomy, etc[10]. (If you are interested in the calculations behind this table: Find further explainations at the end of this page!)

Thus follows:

People have the biggest potential to reduce the waste of bananas!

The title 0kg per minute is not consecrated to retailers. 0kg/minute shall be our target!

Even if you only find the numbers for Austria, Germany and Switzerland in this table, with “our” I address all the people who buy bananas!


Do not throw them away! 2,6 kg approximates 18 bananas per person and year.

0 kg per minute is a realistic goal, if everybody of us shall not throw away 2,5 to 2,7 kilogrammes of bananas.

In the following paragraphs, I explain how you can participate and fulfil our target!

2.How can you handle bananas at the best?

When buying

I. Planning

In many kitchens, you see a basket full of fruits on the table: Apples, pears, bananas and many more. For many people bananas belong to the fruit basket. And even if you search the web for pictures of fruit baskets you see some bananas in every basket! However, often they simply lay in the basket until they are brown and do not look good any more.

Bananas do not belong in the fruit basket as if they are ornaments! They are food. Do you really need bananas in the next days to eat them?

Often you can answer this question with “no”. There are enough other fruits in your house or regional fruits are ripe this season. Especially in summer and spring I prefer regional and organic fruits to bananas.

Not only concerning bananas a shopping list helps you to save money and food waste. Prepare a shopping list every time before you go shopping and only buy the items on your list.

Do you really need bananas? If so, how many of them do you need and for which meals do you want to use them? Thinking carefully about these questions helps you to prevent the purchase of too much bananas.

II. Shopping

When you decide to buy bananas, another question comes up: Where should you buy them?

+As I already mentioned in the second part of this series, there are many alternatives to supermarkets. Look for bananas at your farmers market or in an organic shop. I recommend looking for organic bananas from the Canary Islands (if you live in Europe!). They have a shorter route of transport and thus save 42% of the CO² emissions in comparison with bananas from South and Latin America[11]. Moreover, I learned that these bananas are smaller but taste better.

So, I suggest buying bananas that have the shortest possible transportation ways.

+Alternatively, you can get your bananas out of the “organic waste” containers at supermarkets („dumpster diving“), which is legal in Austria and Switzerland, as long as you do not burglarize or destroy something. As far as my experience goes you find enough bananas for a troop of monkeys almost every week. When you pick up this bananas and use them, you can appease your appetite for bananas and you do not further stimulate the demand for bananas. If more people buy less bananas in the supermarket, the supermarkets will offer less bananas and thus throw away less of these delicious fruits!

+Always buy bananas with a organic and a fairtrade label! So you can support those sustainable structures and improve working conditions of the people.

+What’s more, you can buy bananas of all sizes and colours, not only yellow ones “with green ends” [12](according to this report, it is the favourite banana colour of consumers).

+Single bananas often end up in the container, because many people only buy whole bushes of bananas. Single bananas do not have a worse quality. Buy single bananas too!

III. Packaging & Zero Waste

Bananas are relatively big so it is no problem to buy them bulk, without a plastic bag. Put them in your cloth bag respectively your shopping basket. Just mind not to squash the bananas!

In supermarkets, there are many stickers on the bananas. The stickers are difficult to remove especially from the skin of riper bananas and you can’t put them on the compost. That’s one of the reasons why I recommend buying bananas in organic shops or on farmers markets – usually the bananas are free from stickers there.

If possible, tell the management about the possibility to mark bananas (and other fruits & vegetables as well) with laser . Stickers are not necessary with this method any more.

When storing

I. The right place

This depends on how ripe the bananas are. If you want to fasten the ripening process just put them in a flat bowl in a warm room. Other ripe fruits near your banana help accelerate the ripening further[13].

In contrast, I put bananas which are ripe enough in my cellar or in another cooler place.

Do not put bananas in the fridge! I recognised that they easily get brown and muddy  there. If you want to store many bananas for a long time in a simple way, put them in the freezer! I peel the bananas, then I put the banana skin around the bananas again to freeze all the bananas bulk in a box. So I do not use plastic bags and the banana skin is easy removable when you unfreeze the bananas.

In the freezer bananas can stay for half a year and even longer. The banana skin gets brown in the freezer but this does not harm the taste of the bananas. You can use the frozen bananas in multiple ways (see below).

II. Use bananas for healthy and tasty purpose

What can I eat? – Short note concerning the banana skin

I guess you peel you banana before eating it. In the past few months more and more sources stated that the banana skin is a healthy and tasty snack: It is rich in vitamins and contains a remarkable amount of fibres[14]. However, it tastes bitter when you eat it raw. To make it tasty you can roast the banana skin and put it as an additive to exotic dishes e.g. in curries – one of my readers already tried this. She told me that that after 15 minutes of roasting the banana peel was not bitter anymore (see her comment below the german blog entry) LINK.

I have not tried the banana peel yet, because I usually get my bananas from the container at the supermarket. There I always find mixed bananas, conventional ones and certified organic ones. And it can be dangerous for your health to eat conventional banana skin because there are many pesticides on it (see my 2nd post).

To sum up: The fascinating idea to eat the banana peel too could help us to use the banana in more ways. However, you should only eat the banana skin from certified organic bananas (which did not touch conventional ones)!

How do I recognise whether a banana is still edible?

A banana is deep yellow, hard and curved. In stores, in commercials, on colouring pictures for children: Everywhere you see this stereotype of “the banana”.


Which one would you eat?

So it is unsurprising that private consumers only eat fruits which look perfect – commercials suggest that only perfect bananas taste good. See this graph which shows different ripening stages of bananas It does not even show real brown flecked bananas!

According to the first picture in this interview (LINK) 36% of the consumers prefer a yellow banana “with green tips” or a “deep yellow” one. Only 14% preferred a “deep yellow banana with brown spots”. Most of the people even consider bananas with brown parts on the skin as addled. In reality you even can eat bananas with a fully brown skin! This shows my photo below.

(all the bananas are taken from the “organic waste” at the supermarket)



Bananas with different degrees of ripeness. I opened them in the picture below. Every single one is edible, sweet and tasty!

Even bananas with brown spots in their flesh can be eaten! Sometimes you will recognise a brown stripe inside of the banana. It is no problem to eat this stripe as well.

Conclusion: Whilst the banana pulp does not smell rotten, you can eat it no matter which colour the banana skin is!

Tasty ideas and recipes

What shall you do if you have brown bananas at home although you planned your shopping? You do not want to prepare another fruit salad or banana split?

Freezing always works. However you can also prepare a tasty meal right now! Of course, you can use freezed bananas for all these recipes too.

Below I tell you about five fabulous ideas for ripe bananas!

1.Iced banana smoothie


Which bananas are suitable? Frozen, overripe bananas

For one person:

  • 2 bananas
  • Cinnamon
  • If necessary: some water

Cut the bananas in thin slices and put them with a pinch of cinnamon in your high performance mixer. If you have not got one do not worry, a blender is ok as well. Add some water if your mixer needs this to work.

Depending on how much water you add the smoothier gets more liquid. Without water it reminds me of ice (“Nana-Icecream”).

You can change this purely plant-based recipe in infinite ways: I love to add peppermint or sugar free cocoa powder! Furthermore berries, mashed nuts or raisins taste make the taste of your “Iced banana smoothie” unique – every time.


2.Banana bread

Which bananas? Ripe or overripe bananas, with brown spots or entire brown skin

This is my favourite recipe for soft, juicy banana bread.

For 2 people:

  • 4 bananas
  • 40 grams of colza or sunflower seed oil
  • 25 g powdered hazel nuts, other nuts or almonds
  • 125 g flour (white or wholemeal)
  • 1 pinch of backing soda
  • 1 tbsp honey, maple syrup or agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice

Smash the bananas in a bowl with a fork. Then mix flour and backing soda and add all the ingredients to the bananas. Mix it further with fork. Grease and flour any cake pan and put the dough on it. After 30 minutes at 180°C (356°F) in the backing oven the banana bread is ready to eat. (When you used a loaf pan it might need more time.)

No matter if hot or cold, for breakfast or tea time, with or without spread this bread is easy prepared and tasty!

3.Banana milk, banana curd and banana yoghurt

Banana joghurt
Which bananas? Ripe or overripe bananas, deep frozen or not

The good old banana milk always tastes nice. Like the “Iced Banana Smoothie” it can be combined in many ways with other ingredients.

Ideal as a healthy breakfast of on the go: Mix curd or yoghurt with thin banana slices and another colourful fruit e.g. some kind of berries. Linseeds, walnuts or some honey perfect this indulgence.

4.Banana pancakes


Which bananas? Ripe or overripe bananas, with brown spots or an entire brown skin

For 1 person:

  • 1 banana
  • 75 g milk or 75 ml homemade nut milk or almond milk
  • 75 g flour (white or wholemeal)
  • 1 pinch of backing soda

Mix flour and backing soda, smash the banana and add all the other ingredients. Put a tbsp. of this dough on a hot frying pan. Turn around the pancakes after a few minutes. Some water on the pan can make the pancakes even fluffier.

As a topping berries, chocolate sauce, honey, maple syrup or mashed almonds taste nice. I had roasted those raspberries with powdered hazel nuts before I added them to the pancakes.

5. Cakes & Tortes


Which bananas? Ripe or overripe bananas, with brown spots or an entire brown skin

There is no single recipe for this – you can convert every cake recipe into a banana cake recipe.

One egg can be replaced by one half of a banana. In many cakes I can substitute more than half of – or even all the eggs – for bananas.

Try slowly to replace eggs with bananas because the taste does not suit every cake. But especially in chocolate cakes the additional taste of bananas is fantastic!

See the picture above: My mother baked this cake with 2 bananas and only 2 eggs (instead of 6).


Bananas are very special exotic fruits.

An we have so many possibilities to enjoy them! Of course there are many more ideas than the ones I mentioned above. But even this small selection of ideas shows: No banana has to be wasted! I am convinced that we can make our way from 2,58 kilogrammes of wasted bananas per person and year down to 0 kg!

With the vision of the heading – 0kg/minute – I want to conclude this article. To make it come true, it is important that everybody knows: Bananas are not decoration objects but delicious food. Even bananas with brown skin are edible! Think before you buy and tell your friends and neighbours.

What’s more: I submitted the german part of this blog entry to the #reducefoodwaste blogger award 2017 . Vote for „Vison 0 kg Bananen pro Minute“ if you liked it!

It is important for me to make a difference with my articles. Thus I would be happy if you ask me your questions, share this blog entry and talk about the topic!

Background information concerning the calculations in the table:

Total import bananas Austria: 102 299 000 kg per year[15]

“Statistik Austria” calculated that the consumption of bananas per capita (eaten + wasted bananas) is 13,2 kg per year[16]. When considering the assumption mentioned in “Spiegel online” (20% of all the bought edibles of consumers are wasted) this means that every Austrian person eats 10,56 kg per year and throws away 2,64 kilogrammes. Austria’s 8 600 000 Habitants (October 2017) throw away 54 489 600 kg of bananas per year. Thus, we have (54 489 600:365:24:60= 104) roughly 104 kg bananas per minute!

Total import bananas Switzerland: 72 000 000 kg per year[17]

Every Swiss person eats 10 kg bananas per year[18], thus buys 12,5 kg per year and throws away 2,5 kg (20% of bought bananas). In Switzerland there are 8 500 000 people who throw away 21 250 000 kg bananas every year. We have (21 250 000:365:24:60= 40) 40 kilogrammes which are wasted by all Swiss people every minute.

27,03% of the bananas are wasted by private households (21 250 000:72 000 000 = 0,2703).




[3] October 2017

[4] ( 81 000 000 * 2.625 kg bananas per year)

[5] (212 625 000: 365= 582534 kg per day…582534 :24:60=roughly 405 kg.)

[6] 405 kg (Germany) + 104 kg (Austria) + 40 kg (Switzerland)

[7] Under the assumption that 1 kilogramme of bananas costs 1,19€. For this amount of money you only get conventional bananas. So the monetary value of wasted bananas is, in fact, higher!

The percentage numbers apply column by column: e.g. Germanys private households waste 15,1% of the amount of bananas imported. The big differences concerning the percentage quantities of wasted bananas in private households result from the different quantities of imported bananas in the three countries.


[9] Based on 288 kg/min







[16] see table: average monthly use of food & beverage consumed at home



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