Jute: The Future Fiber
What is jute?
Jute, also known as the golden fiber, is one of the most durable natural fibers found on this planet. It’s an annual crop which takes about 120 days to grow and does not need much of pesticides or fertilizers. After Jute plants are harvested, they are bundled and soaked in water for a few days till the fibers are soft and ready to be stripped and dried. It is mostly cultivated in south East Asia in the tropical climate of India and Bangladesh. More than 80% of the world’s jute is grown in these two countries, followed by China. As a natural fiber, just is considered to be second-most globally consumed fiber next to cotton.
History of Jute
In the ancient times, in parts of Asia and Africa jute fiber has been used to sow clothes while the leaves have been used in cooking. From the 17th century to middle of 20th century, widespread jute cultivation started by the British East India Company and jute factories were built in Calcutta and in parts of Bangladesh (which was part of India at that time). In 17th century, the East India Company started its trading of jute to England, and gradually the export of jute started worldwide. Today, Bangladesh is the largest exporter of raw jute, and India is the second largest producer as well as the largest consumer of jute products in the world.
Uses of Jute
Jute fibers could be woven into ecofriendly, sustainable bags, curtains, chair coverings, area rugs and Hessian clothes.
- The course end of the jute plant, called jute butts, is used to make inexpensive clothes.
- Traditionally jute has been used as a vegetable fiber to manufacture textile. But, the major breakthrough came when the automobile, paper industry, and the furniture and bedding industries started to use jute fibers to manufacture nonwovens, technical textiles, and composites.
- In some parts of the jute producing countries, people even use jute sticks as fuelling and fencing materials.