Pineapple, Banana Waste: Promising Materials For Various Products

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, The Philippines — January 14, 2012 — 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.

Posted on January 18, 2012

Source: Philippine Information Agency