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Face masks from abaca paper, banana fibre in Philippines

Jun '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Salay Handmade Products Industries Inc (SHPII), a firm in the Philippines exporting handmade paper products, has started producing face masks for the domestic market using abaca paper. Another firm Modishchey Creations is producing reusable face masks using indigenous banana fibre woven textile after receiving a suggestion from the department of trade and industry (DTI).

The Philippines supplies 8 per cent of abaca fibre demand to the world market.

A test by the department of science and technology (DOST) Region 10 for filtration and porosity showed that abaca paper’s filtration rate is seven times better than cloth and it has lower water absorption than an N95 mask, said SHPII’s Neil Francis Rafisura.

SHPII’s abaca paper was developed a decade ago, through a partnership with DTI Region-10 through the Design Centre of the Philippines, according to domestic media reports.

DTI of Davao del Norte introduced the idea of producing reusable banana face masks to Gleizl Joy Cabahug Soo of Modishchey Creations as part of the office’s assistance to the company to sustain its business operation and to provide employment amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The banana fibre ‘musa’, the scientific name of banana, is the main material of the textile produced by the indigenous women weavers of Davao del Norte as well as prisoners. These banana fiber woven textiles are the output of DTI’s initiative last year, the training on banana fiber-weaving among the IPs and the prisoners.

The primary aim of the DTI project is to promote sustainable livelihood, especially among prisoners who have no means of earning a livelihood.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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June 2021

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