Banana fibre saris.
ANAKAPUTHUR, INDIA: With a growing focus on environmental concerns, a number of companies across India are experimenting with ‘green’ fibre and fabrics. To provide an environment-friendly choice to customers, Anakaputhur (Chennai) weavers are making banana fibre saris that are 100 per cent pure. The banana fibre is obtained by treating banana plant waste (lignocellulosic fibre) with alkaline pulping and steam explosion. The process is a simple and eco-friendly method of fabrication. Last year, Anakaputhur weavers entered the Limca Book of Records by making saris using 25 different natural fibre such as banana, flax, sea grass, lemon grass and messa.
“Raw fibre is purchased in bulk from the wholesale market. They are cleaned in a simple bleaching process and the fat content removed. After delicately removing single strands of the fibre, they are woven into fabrics,” informed C Shekhar, President, Anakaputhur Jute Weaver’s Association.
The weavers are getting bulk orders for banana fibre saris from Chennai and Bangalore, and there have been sample orders from the US, Singapore, Malaysia and Canada. “Dresses woven out of natural fibre are in great demand inside and outside India,” added Shekhar. The need for eco-friendly products globally is on the rise but limiting factors such as pricing, production costs and space constraints restricts large scale production.
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