WHAT IS BANANA FABRIC?
While the main part of the plant is the banana or plantain itself, the stems, an underrated piece of wonder, can be used to make textile fibers which in turn are used to make banana fabrics.
The sheath of the banana stem is stripped of and natural fiber is obtained. The pigments, broken fibers and cellulose are removed and the fiber is combed. This helps to clean and dry the fibers. A tough and lustrous fiber, closely resembling silk is obtained which is now spun to yarn and made into fabric.
9 LIFE-CHANGING BENEFITS OF BANANA
1. Banana plants bear fruit only once in their lifetime while the rest of the plant is discarded as agricultural waste. So while an average person consumes 12 kg of banana a year, there are billions of kilos of banana stems that are thrown away. This waste, when channelized into making textile fabrics, not only leads to a more judicious use of the entire plant but also drastically reduces waste.
2. Banana farmers now have an additional source of income to sustain themselves. Instead of selling just the banana fruit like they did earlier, they can now also sell its stem for textile fabrics. This looks out for the livelihood of small scale sustenance farmers
3. Petroleum- based fibers like nylon, polyester and acrylic or even natural fibers like cotton require copious amounts of non-renewable resources and chemicals for their production which does more irreversible damage to the planet than it does any good. Banana stem fabric eases the pressure on the environment’s resources and requires very little water to grow thereby promoting sustainable living.
4. Banana fabrics are completely biodegradable. A few companies are switching to using banana fabrics to make sanitary napkins for women which can be recycled repeatedly due to their decomposing nature. Women are currently using disposable sanitary napkins which do not decompose due to their synthetic nature and end up stuffing landfills.
5. Banana fabrics are quite an ideal vegan alternative to silk. They mimic a lot of qualities of silk. They’re soft, smooth and lustrous with a moderate to high sheen. They don’t need to be ironed and can retain shape even after being washed. They also have the added advantage of being an animal-free textile.
6. This kind of fabric can be used to make a vast number of things due to its versatile nature. The thick and sturdy outer sheath of the stem can be used to make ropes and mats whereas the soft inner sheath is used to make paper and apparel
7. Banana fabric is extremely strong, much stronger than regular paper. It is used for cement bags to carry up to 25 kg of cement, and other heavy duty objects. In fact, the tenacity of banana fiber is so high that it is used by a lot of automobile companies to strengthen the body of the vehicle.
8. Being resistant to fire, water and tears, it is quoted as one of the most durable fabrics to exist. The fiber consists of thick-walled cell tissue bonded by natural gum. During a research, it was found that paper made out of banana fabric can last up to 100 years and can be folded up to 3,000 times. This feature makes it suitable for making paper for currency as can be seen with Japanese Yen notes.
9. Clothes made out of this fabric are soft, supple and allow for easy breath ability. It absorbs moisture, keeping you cool on hot summer days as opposed to synthetic fibers which cause excessive discomfort and sweating.
SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE BANANA FABRIC ITEMS YOU WILL WANT TO GET YOUR HANDS ON: