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Jute is a Natural Product with a Variety of ‘Green’ Uses

In an age of technology, we sometimes learn that simpler, natural products are better. In the case of Jute, we have not successfully duplicated a synthetic fiber that is as environmentally friendly as the one nature made.

Burlap Bags

Jute is a vegetable fiber that can be woven into a coarse fabric commonly known as burlap. Jute is not the only plant fiber that is used to make burlap. Hemp and Flax fibers work as well.

For many centuries, jute has been used to create packaging materials such as cloth for sacks, rope, yarn, carpet backing, and other woven goods. It is inexpensive to produce and has added insulation, low thermal conductivity, and anti-static features.

The construction industry looked for a replacement because of its tendency to become yellow, brittle, and break down when exposed to sunlight, water, and humidity, but it came at a price.

 

Synthetic Replacements for Jute

Linoleum was the precursor to vinyl flooring, came in rolls, and required a backing when installed just like carpet. It was made of linseed and wood materials, then backed by canvas or burlap fabric. Unlike carpet and wood flooring, it was water resistant and easy to clean. It was even popular on battleships and commercial buildings because of its strength and stability.

Jute_cane
Synthetic materials mostly made out of PVC or plastic have replaced jute in many residential and commercial construction applications because they are even less costly to create and more efficient to use. Over the years, many of these synthetics products have proved to be toxic and environmentally unfriendly. Carpeting, vinyl, and insulating materials now contain rubber, PVC, and recycled petroleum products. These materials are not biodegradable and release chemicals into homes that can cause cancer.

 

Thinking Green

Today, “thinking green” has the building industry suggesting a return to the original, less toxic flooring using plant fibers again. Industrial uses for jute and burlap are being used in ceiling tile (composite insulation), filtration, reinforcement materials and hardboards, carpets, and upholstery. The engineering and automotive industries are using technical textiles for insulation, isolation, and reinforcement. Technical and geotextiles are made of jute, coconut raw material, and other fleece materials made of special fiber types put through specific processing techniques to create flexible, high moisture absorption fabrics.

 

Wood Products

Jute is being considered a possible alternative to wood. Its stem contains a wood-like center core. Taking no more than six months to grow to maturity, it can be harvested faster than trees. It could be used as an alternative source for making paper, rather than cutting down trees for pulp.

Products made of jute like fabrics, residential textiles, composite building materials, geotextiles, pulps, technical textiles, handicraft materials, and fashion accessories are more competitive against oil derivative counterparts than they once were. Features of jute that cause it to slowly fade and break down in the environment are welcome and in some industries, like agriculture and landscaping, precisely why we use it.

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 25th, 2016 at 3:52 pm and is filed under Agricultural Packaging, Burlap, Flood Protection, Industrial Packaging, Nursery Horticulture, Nursery Supplies, NYP-Corp News, Sandbags.

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