Sustainable textile processing for Philippine bamboo fabric

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    Bamboo fabric (left) and yarn.

    By DOST-PTRI Technology Transfer, Information and Promotion Staff

    Through research and development, bamboo is now the newest addition to the local natural textile fibers joining pineapple, abaca, and banana, which are being converted into textile or fabric through the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)’s textile processing technology.

    Various nations, including the Philippines, have pushed for an increase in people’s awareness of bamboo’s importance in our lives, and House Resolution 197 added to the recognition to proclaim the month of September as the Philippine Bamboo Month.

    The Philippine Textile Research Institute, the textile arm of DOST (DOST-PTRI), has been invested in developing natural textile fibers as better options to petroleum- and chemical-based synthetics. The Institute has since included bamboo to its efforts at nurturing natural textile materials to support the Philippine contribution towards the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, SDG12, on sustainable consumption and production.

    To maximize local bamboo as a vast natural resource, the DOST-PTRI promotes its bamboo textile processing technology for the production of natural blended yarns and woven fabrics. Noting that bamboo has the highest textile fiber yield among other textile fibers like pineapple, banana, or abaca, more significant opportunities will be provided for income generation from upstream to downstream for the natural textile industry sector.

    The DOST- PTRI technology has been optimized following mechano-chemical processes noting significant increase in value of the bamboo pole (Php 5.00 per kilogram), to its transformation into bamboo textile fibers (BTF) in spinnable form to spun yarns (Php 910.00 per kilogram). In one hectare of a bamboo plantation, there will be over 4,589 kilograms of spinnable bamboo textile fibers that can be obtained and when it is transformed into yarns, an estimate of 12,500 kilograms of yarns composed of 75/25 blended ratio of cotton and bamboo textile fiber can be produced.

    It is also notable that the developed process is community-centric and sustainable in the conversion of poles to textile, the processing being one other than the regeneration route popularly known as the viscose process, an open system that is known to adversely affect the environment. Diversifying and expanding bamboo use through sustainable textile processing is a step to mainstreaming bamboo as a natural textile.

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