The stem of the banana plant is usually thrown away once the plantain is harvested. The stem forms a major waste material on a large scale and this disposal has become a huge problem. So form this they started to extract fiber mechanically and used to make various products. Most of the Banana fibers produced today is used for ropes and cordage. The resistance of the fiber to the sea-water and its natural buoyancy has created a ready market for it in the manufacture of shipping cables. It is also widely used for making power transmission ropes and cordage, wall drilling cables, fishing nets, lines and other types of cordage.
Although banana plants and fibers are available in tropical regions in abundance, their application potential has not been exploited fully. At present, other companies make the limited application of banana fiber, for example, in making ropes, mats, and some other fields such as the composite materials. With the increasing environmental awareness and the growing importance of eco-friendly fabrics, banana fiber has also been recognized for all its good qualities and now its application is increasing in other fields too such as apparel garments and home furnishings.
The best thing about these fabrics is that they are biodegradable, finally broken down into water and carbon dioxide by microorganisms in the soil. Innovation sees no limit and consumers can expect something big coming up in the textile industry like fabrics and textiles woven from fine quality banana fiber. In Japan, it is being used for making traditional dresses like kimono, and kamishimo since the Edo period (1600- 1868). Due to its being lightweight and comfortable to wear, it is still preferred by people there as summer wear. Banana fiber is also used to make fine cushion covers, Neckties, bags, table cloths, curtains, etc. Rugs made from banana silk yarn fibers are also very popular.
Many applications of banana pseudostem have been enlisted as follows
- As an eco-friendly substitute in the textile industry in place of the environmentally hazardous synthetic fibers.
- To provide a livelihood to the rural poor through the generation of employment in the fiber producing and processing industry.
- Being completely biodegradable and naturally occurring, the banana fiber products are expected to be in great demand in the international markets as they pose no toxic effects on man and environment.
- To make value-added products, which would enhance the profitability of banana farming.
- To minimize deforestation due to various wood/cellulose processing industries, protecting the environment.
- Boxes made from these boards can be used for the transport of fruits and other materials. Thicker varieties of banana paper can be used for making files, covers and packing materials.
Source: Banana fiberscope and value-added product development – Wilson College of Textiles.