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Eco-friendly textiles from banana & pineapple fibres
Jan '12
Agricultural waste from banana and pineapple, which are eco-friendly and are found in abundance in Philippines, can be used as alternative materials for production of home textiles, apparels, non-woven and industrial fabrics and upholsteries.

Department of Science and Technology's (DOST) Philippine Textile Research Institute's (PTRI) researcher Nora Mangalindan presented the findings of her research at a recent forum.

PTRI aims to help the domestic textile and allied industries in attaining global competitiveness through use of indigenous resources and by enhancing their technical competence in production of textiles and quality assurance.

According to the research, pineapple plantations span on almost 59,000 hectares in Philippines, with majority of them being in Northern Mindanao, Davao Del Norte, Western Visayas, Davao region and Eastern Visayas. This can yield 55,483 tons of pineapple fibre.

Similalry, the country has nearly 447,000 hectares of land under banana plantations, majority of which is in Northern Mindanao, North Cotabato, Bukidnon, South Cotabato and Bicol region. This can generate 307,000 tons of banana fibre.

Mangalindan said that the use of these fibres also have technological benefits, as besides being ecologically sound, biodegradable and sustainable, they also have better performance ability in terms of fibre and fabric properties.

Pineapple fibres are obtained from pineapple waste, which has high lignin and cellulose content.

These were already being used as organic waste till recently, but with recent experiments proving successful in producing silk-like textiles when fused with polyester or silk, these fibres have a new utility.

Pineapple fibres are very lightweight, soft and easy to maintain and wash, and also it fuses well with other fabrics and provides an elegant look.

On the other hand, though banana fibre resembles the fibre prepared from bamboo and ramie, it has a better fineness. In spite of being lightweight, it is very strong and has high moisture absorption capacity, and above all, it is also biodegradable.

In olden times, pineapple and banana fibres found very less utility and basically were only used to prepare ropes, mats and other composite materials. However, with increasing awareness regarding eco-friendly fabrics, these fibres are now being increasingly used for preparation of apparels and home furnishings.

The researcher said eco-friendly fabrics are in high demand in global markets due to their qualities of sustainability and biodegradability.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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