The worldwide awareness on
environment and health is likely to provide new opportunities on jute, due to its
environment-friendly characteristics. Jute and kenaf have been employed for centuries as
packaging materials. In recent times they are found to be a valuable aid to sound
Jute, a natural fibre that
can be used in many different areas, supplementing and/or replacing synthetics, has been
receiving increasing attention from the industry. Their interests focus not only on the
traditional uses of jute, but also on the production of other value-added products such
as, pulp and paper, geotextiles, composites and home textiles etc.
Jute is an annually
renewable energy source with a high biomass production per unit land area. It is
biodegradable and its products can be easily disposed without causing environmental
hazards. The roots of jute plants play a vital role in increasing the fertility of the
soil. By rotating with other crops like rice and potatoes, jute acts as a barrier to pest
and diseases for others crops and provides also a substantial amount of nutrients to other
crops in the form of organic matter and micronutrients. Jute and kenaf have ecological
adaptability, and can be grown on a range of soil types. They have a good tolerance to
salinity, water stress and water logging. Agronomically, jute and kenaf have advantages as
regards their resistance to climatic extremes, pests and diseases.
Jute plants have high carbon
dioxide (CO2) assimilation rate and it clean the air by consuming large
quantities of CO2, which is the main cause of the greenhouse effect.
Theoretically, one hectare of jute plants can consume about 15 tons of CO2 from
atmosphere and release about 11 tons of oxygen in the 100 days of the jute-growing season.
Studies also show that the CO2 assimilation rate of jute is several times
higher than that of trees. (Inagaki, 2000).
Jute is a fast-growing
seasonal crop. It reaches a height of 1.5 to 4.5 meters in a period of 4 to 5 months. The
average dry stem production of jute ranges from 20-40 ton per hectare, annually. This
contrasts with the production of the fastest growing wood plant which needs at least 10 to
14 years from plantation to harvest, and produces only 8 to 12 ton per hectare annually.
Because the biological efficiency of jute is much higher than that of wood plants, the use
of jute instead of wood to make paper pulp will lower substantially the cost of production
of pulp and paper and save forest resources. (Liu, 2000)
The defoliated jute leaves
have fertilizer value and enriches the soil nutrients. Jute leaves are used as vegetables
and have nutritional as well medicinal values jute sticks
are used for fuel and shelter in jute growing rural areas. This has helped reduce the use
of wood in these applications. For Instance, the total production of jute & kenaf
fibre in the world is 3 million tons. This means that on an average 6 million tons of jute
sticks are available to the rural people for use as firewood etc.
The production flow of jute
agriculture involves: sowing, weeding/thinning, harvesting, defoliation, retting, fibre
extraction, washing and drying. But only a small percentage of the farmers use seed
treatment, fertilizers and herbicides/pesticides, which makes the processes before
harvesting environmentally sound. Processes of jute retting, fibre extraction and washing
have drawn some concerns regarding solid residue and gaseous emissions that arise from
such processes. Complaints about the unpleasant smell during retting are quite common.
However, the pollution of water by retting is transitory in nature, because in a warm
climate the polluted water returns to its normal condition after 30-45 days. The temporary
gaseous emissions and unpleasant smell do not involve any non-reversible hazard as
compared to some other industries. The retting process is being improved using
Jute products manufacturing
process involve several stages such as batching, softening with batching oil, carding,
drawing, spinning, weaving and finishing. The use of mineral batching oils is being
replaced with for specific use like packaging of Cocoas and Coffee.
contains cellulose like any other raw materials used for paper pulp. Experiments to
convert jute fibre and whole jute plant into paper pulp have successfully produced good
quality pulp and paper. The growing demand of pulp and paper worldwide on a continuous
basis and increase of public awareness on environmental issues have created conditions to
check depletion of forest resources through using jute/kenaf for producing pulp and paper.
This increasing demand for paper has led to excessive deforestation in both developed and
developing countries. The restoration of the forest resources is difficult because of the
relatively long growing cycle of trees. This situation will increase the competitiveness
of jute as a raw material for paper pulp and the paper industry.
can be used for the production of good quality writing and other papers. Furthermore,
using jute for pulp and paper has many advantages, like (i) using less chemicals than in
wood pulping, like chlorine; (ii) consuming less energy than traditional wood pulp due to
the low lignin content of jute; (iii) using treated wastewater from jute paper mills for
Jute fibre has the potential
to compete with glass fibre, as reinforcing agents in plastics. Technologies exist that
make it possible to incorporate jute fibre into polypropylene. The resulting jute
composite granules can be used in thermoforming processing techniques, such as injection
moulding and compression moulding. Products made from jute-reinforced composites have the
advantage of low cost, low density, renewability and biodegradability. This composite can
be used, in the packaging industry, i.e. the manufacturing of crates, boxes or cases used
for storage and transportation of agricultural products; in the automobile industry, i.e.
to replace glass fibre in car door panels; and as construction material.
jute-reinforced composites are expected to have a significant positive environmental
impact. This contrasts with the situation existing at present, because the packaging
industry is responsible for about one-third of the plastic consumption in developed
countries, and accounts for the production of 20.8% of total solid waste and 3.7% of
Particleboard made from Bast
fibre, core fibre or the mixture of both can find a wide application as substitute of
wood. The availability of the technologies for producing particleboard and its high
socio-economic value are solid arguments in favour of the future development of this
Jute geo-textile is another
product with a potentially large-scale application. It can have several uses: soil erosion
control, vegetation consolidation, agro-mulching materials, and road pavement
Jute, for its versatility,
rightfully deserves to be branded as the fibre for the future. It is the
natural option for a cleaner and healthier the environment.