68 days ago

Abaca: The Queen of Natural Fibres

Owner from Curtain Clean BOP Ltd

Abaca is a natural leaf fibre that comes from a relative of the banana tree family native to the Philippines that grows throughout tropical regions. It is also called Manilla hemp, though it is not related to actual hemp.

Abaca has great economic importance and is harvested for its strong, versatile fibre. Being regarded as the strongest natural fibres in the world, abaca can be put into various modern sophisticated technologies like the automobile industry and as a raw material for other important industries such as textiles, fashion, and the décor/furnishing industry.

Abaca is commonly used by the paper industry for such specialty uses such as tea bags, banknotes, filter papers and in medical filter sheets. While it is currently used mostly in paper products, abaca has a long history in textiles. Abaca fabric has a stiff quality and holds its structure (it is considered a hard fibre and is comparable in texture to sisal and coir). It has a very long fibre length and is one of the strongest fibres - flexible, durable, and highly resistant to saltwater damage. For these reasons it has been used over time for rope and cording. It can also be woven into home and fashion accessories including wall coverings, rugs, tapestries, and bags. It can be used to make handcrafts such as hats, bags, carpets, clothing, and furniture.

Abaca is generally considered to be a sustainable, environmentally friendly fibre that can empower communities. It has been identified by the United Nations as a “Future Fibre”. That said, not many standards and certifications are used for abaca, so transparency and doing your own due diligence around environmental and social impact are very important when sourcing. The Rainforest Alliance currently certifies some abaca farms.

The harvesting and extraction of fibre from abaca is painstaking process which involves many processes. Stripping and drying of fibres is either done manually or mechanically. After extraction, different grades of fibres are obtained which are then accordingly used for different set of industrial activities.

The world's leading abaca producer is the Philippines. While the crop is also cultivated in other Southeast Asian countries, the second largest producing country is Ecuador, where abaca is grown on large estates and production is increasingly mechanized. Almost all abaca produced is exported, mainly to Europe, Japan, and the USA. Exports from the Philippines are increasingly in the form of pulp rather than raw fibre.

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More messages from your neighbours
4 days ago

Your favourite ever summer holiday

Lorna Thornber Reporter from Stuff Travel

Hi everyone,
Now that summer's finally here and the holidays are just around the corner for many, we'd love to hear about your favourite summer holiday memories. Has there been a trip that you continue to think about years later? Where did you go, with who and what did you get up to? What made it such a stand-out experience? As usual, please put 'NFP' in your comment if you don't want it included in a travel article. Cheers.

1 day ago

Housing choice plan change - have your say

Communications from Tauranga City Council

We regularly review our City Plan to monitor it’s effectiveness and to respond to any emerging issues.

Our housing shortage is a good example. As we grow, we need to ensure we have enough homes for people to live in and housing types to accommodate our changing population. To allow Tauranga to grow up as well as out and enable more housing choice, our City Plan rules need to make it easier to provide for more types of housing.

Head over to our website to find out what we’re proposing and have your say.

Remember, what you do with your house or land is up to you – but the proposed changes would open up a wealth of opportunity for our community and our city over time.

16 hours ago

It's International Volunteer Day!

The Team from Red Cross Shop Greerton

To our RC Shop Volunteers,

Thank you for your amazing support and the kindness you show Red Cross. Our shop couldn’t do it without you, you are the heart of our work and we are very grateful for the service you give to our shop. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

If you are not a Red Cross Shop Volunteer yet and you would like to become one, just hit the Read More button for further information.