Pineapple, banana waste: for eco-waste fabrics

Recently, a research had proved that agricultural waste from pineapple and banana can be a substitute materials for apparel, home textiles, upholsteries, non-woven and industrial fabrics.

According to Nora Mangalindan, researcher for Philippine Textile Research Industry (PTRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), aside from being environment-friendly, the materials are also copious in the country.

The goal of PTRI is to support the Philippine textile and similar industries to achieve global competitiveness through consumption of aboriginal resources and progress of technical competence in textile production and quality assurance. Mangalindan further explained that the country has almost 59,000 hectares of pineapple plantations typically found in Davao region, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Davao Del Norte and Eastern Visayas. Over 447,000 hectares of banana plantations can be seen in North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Northern Mindanao, Bukidnon and the Bicol region. It can yield to 55, 483 metric tons and 307,000 metric tons of fiber respectively.

It is biodegradable and sustainable, ecologically sound and has better performance in terms of fiber and fabric properties, she said.

Pineapple fiber came from wastes of pineapple that are rich in lignin and cellulose. These are unrefined waste, then recent experiments can produce silk-like textiles if combined with polyester or silk. The fiber is very soft, lightweight, easy to maintain and wash, if it blends with other fabrics it looks very elegant.

The fiber from banana is similar with that from the bamboo and ramie. Its fineness is better than the two. It is very strong but lightweight, with high wetness absorption and more importantly, it is biodegradable. In the past, pineapple and banana fibers were mainly used to make mats, ropes and some other composite materials. Thru the growing importance of eco-friendly fabrics, the use of pineapple and banana fibers has increased even in pparel and home furnishings.

This is a niche market because eco-fabrics, which are sustainable, are in demand in the global market, Mangalindan said. [via]

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