Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:00
Agricultural waste from pineapple and banana can be alternative materials for apparel, home textiles, upholsteries, non-woven and industrial fabrics.
Nora Mangalindan, researcher for Philippine Textile Research Industry (PTRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), shared in a recent forum that aside from being environment-friendly, the materials are also abundant in the country.
PTRI aims to support the Philippine textile and allied industries achieve global competitiveness through utilization of indigenous resources and development of technical competence in textile production and quality assurance.
According to research, Mangalindan said that the country has almost 59,000 hectares of pineapple plantations mostly found in Davao region, Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas, Davao Del Norte and Eastern Visayas.
On the other hand, there are almost 447,000 hectares of banana plantations mostly found in North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Northern Mindanao, Bukidnon and the Bicol region. Such yield can provide 55, 483 metric tons and 307,000 metric tons of fiber respectively.Using fibers also has technological advantages Mangalindan said.
"It is biodegradable and sustainable, ecologically sound and has better performance in terms of fiber and fabric properties," she said.
Pineapple fiber comes from wastes of pineapple which is rich in lignin and cellulose.
Normally, these are already considered organic waste until recent experiments produced silk-like textiles if combined with polyester or silk. The fiber is very soft, lightweight, easy to maintain and wash, blends with other fabrics very well and appears elegant.
Meanwhile, fiber from banana is similar with that from the bamboo and ramie, but its fineness is better than the two. It is very strong but lightweight, with high moisture absorption and more importantly, is also biodegradable.
In the past, pineapple and banana fibers had very limited application and were primarily used to make mats, ropes and some other composite materials. But with the growing importance of eco-friendly fabrics, the use of pineapple and banana fibers has increased even in the other fields such as apparel and home furnishings.
"This is a niche market because eco-fabrics, which are sustainable, are in demand in the global market,” Mangalindan said.
By Gelo Udaundo
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