A fabric made out from banana fiber could well be the next green apparel of the future. The fabric, say, researchers, can be cheaper than cotton and linen if produced on a mass scale. Researchers of clothing and textile have designed woven and non-woven fabrics of the fiber obtained from the pseudostem of the banana plant.
Bananas are much different than anything we are accustomed to. The stem of the plant is what looks like the trunk of the ‘tree’, but it is actually tightly packed leaf sheaths that overlap as it grows. The fascinating aspect though has to be the creeping underground stem and root system. It allows five or more generations of fruit-bearing banana stems to simultaneously grow at once.
The plant is categorized as a ‘tree-like perennial herb’ because the parent stem dies naturally after it bears the fruit and a new “sucker” takes over as the parent plant. This is sometimes hard to visualize, but this image shows the smaller offshoots already emerging from the soil waiting for their turn to bathe in the sun.
With exponentially growing populations and fashion trends coming and going faster than ever, we are beginning to realize the effects of our industrial explosion from the past 100 years. Fashion is now the world’s second leading cause of pollution trailing only oil.
While cotton was gaining popularity as a cheap textile for centuries, banana fiber usage was all but forgotten. At the current scale of manufacturing, the unnatural process used to make clothing from cotton is causing landfills to overflow.
After being treated with chemicals, the cotton no longer continues to decompose as it would naturally. In many places around the world, leather manufacturing also continues to poison environments and the humans that work in the factories. This remains true for many massively produced textiles in modern society.
In a show were wallets, purses, small bags and a range of stationery items fashioned out of paper and card made from banana fiber. They were a great hit with visitors to the company's booth at the event. "We were pleased to find that New Zealand's market prioritizes fair trade and investment that caters to new-to-market businesses from all around the Pacific.
The value New Zealanders place on eco-friendly and sustainable products and processes. Consumer consciousness on sustainability and social impact is high in New Zealand and products made from natural materials in a sustainable way such as our wallets and purses are clearly preferred over the same type of products made from leather.