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As the fashion industry heads towards a future where textile resources are scarce, natural

fibres such as cotton, which remains a resource-intensive material, and petroleum-based


fibres like acrylic, polyester, nylon and spandex remain high in demand. But as the
production of these fibres continues to do irreversible damage to the planet, more and more
companies are seeking out sustainable alternative fibres and fabrics. In this new series,
FashionUnited explores the sustainable alternatives and textile innovations that are currently
being pursued all over the world. In this instalment, FashionUnited explores the potential use
of banana fibre.

Banana fibre, also known as musa fibre is one of the world’s strongest natural fibres.
Biodegradable, the natural fibre is made from the stem of the banana tree and is incredibly
durable. The fibre consists of thick-walled cell tissue, bonded together by natural gums and is
mainly composed of cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin. Banana fibre is similar to natural
bamboo fibre, but its spin ability, fineness and tensile strength are said to be better. Banana
fibre can be used to make a number of different textiles with different weights and
thicknesses, based on what part of the banana stem the fibre was extracted from. The thicker,
sturdier fibres are taken from the banana trees outer sheaths, whereas the inner sheaths result
in softer fibres.

Although not many people are aware of its existence or use, banana fibre is not a recent
innovation. People have been making fibres out of banana stems since the early 13th century,
in Japan. But using banana trees as a source of fibre to make textiles declined as other fibres
such as cotton and silk from China and India became increasingly popular. But now banana
fibre is making a comeback in the fashion industry. Recently banana fibre has been making a
comeback in numerous industries and is used all over the world for multiple products,
ranging from tea bags to car tyres to saris and Japanese yen notes.

“Our fibre comes from the backyards of subsistence farmers across all the village. Simpson
explained to FashionUnited. “The tree stems would otherwise be wasted as banana trees fruit
only one time per cycle and are removed to make room for new offshoots growing from the
same root system. The fibres make for very strong paper, which is suitable to replace non-bio
degradable or animal-based materials in certain industrial and fashion applications.” In
addition to being naturally water resistant, banana fibre is also very fire-resistant, tear-
resistant and recyclable, according to Green Banana Paper.
Over the years the global consumption of banana fruit has quickly outpaced the usage of
banana fibres in industrial textile production. On average, one person consumes
approximately 11.9 kgs of bananas per year. But more than a billion tonnes of banana tree
stems are thrown away each year, as banana plants only fruit once in their lifetime before
they die. Research shows it takes 37 kgs of stems to produce a kilo of banana fibres. In
addition, the Philippine Textile Research Institute reported that banana plantations in the
country alone were able to generate over 300,000 tonnes of fibre in 2012. Since starting out
in 2014, Green Banana Paper has recycled 80,000 kgs of discarded banana trees.
Banana fabric is created using raw material which are generally discarded after a
banana harvest. There are also a number of area rugs and other products which are created
specifically using banana fabric due to its resiliency. On average ,vegetable fiber are made of
60-70% of cellulose ,10-20% of hemicelluloses ,5-15% of lignin and upto 2% of pectin and
waxes.banana fiber is obtained from the superimposed leaves forming the pseudostem of the
plant, which currentlyhas no use,apart from a low percentage dedicated to cattle feed.the
banana outer stem is using only for the fire accident medicinal purpose .all over the world the
outerstem isused only for 10% remaing iswaste only . so for the manufacture our raw material
will be banana outerstem . then for the softening purpose some chemicals are needed
An acre of psseudostem is required for generating about 120kg of banana fiber a day. From
an acre of land we can produce about 1000-1500 stems approximately. Roughly 10-13 stems
give you around one or two kg of fiber depending upon the soil,water and plant
condition.companies will pay 110-200Rs for a kg of fiber

Actually Banana is a gigantic herb, and a food fruit crop an ancient species cultivated
r the world. Next to Brazil India is the largest banana producer. The fruit bunches and leaves are main source of Income, bes
leaves are used as bio plates for serving food in homes and functions. Banana fruit contains of multi vitamin and proteins, o
ions of Banana plant are dumped as waste, and the fruit bunches (the upper side ‘U’ type stem) is also cutted and wasted.

BANANA FIBER COLLECTION PROCESS


In the banana plantations, after the fruits are harvested ,the trunks or stems will be discarded. These
wastes provide obtainable sources of fibers , which leads to the reduction of other natural and
synthetic fibers productions that requires extra energy ,fertilizer and chemical. The properties of
babana fibers are good absorbent,highly breathable ,quickly dry with high tensile strength.

Thebanana stem collected from these plants is used as a raw material for the manufacturing of banana
fibers.

For the smoothening and shining purpose a small amount of glycerin is needed for the process.

TIME REQUIREMENT
The time period is the most important criteria for every industry. Based on the time only we can
produce the required material without getting any problems. If the industry is using natural product as
a raw material then this time period will play a major role. Because all the natural materials will have
certain time period after that time it will start to decompose .so according to this time factor only we
can set the industry .

The banana outer stem will start to decompose soon so the industry should place near to the banana
plants. After the banana plants were cut from the sights it will get separated according to the uses. As
soon as the banana outer stem is separated from the plant we should start the process otherwise it will
start to decompose because of the humidity present in the atmosphere. Then we can able to get a white
color fiber from the outer stem if we didn’t start the process of taking fiber from the banana outer
stem at a particular time period the color of the outer stem will change and it will star to decompose.
Then we will get a brown color fiber only . The time which is needed to produce a single fiber from
the outer stm will take maximum of two days only. If we use the drier for the drying purpose then this
process will take one day only to produce a fiber from the stem.