Bangladesh develops plastic alternative from jute

Scientists in Bangladesh have developed a method to convert Jute fibre into low-cost Bio-Degradable cellulose sheets dubbed as Sonali. It has been developed by the team of scientist working for state-run Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC). The commercial production of these bags is likely to start by end of 2019.

About Sonali

The word ‘Sonali’ is the Bengali word for ‘golden’.

Features: The physical qualities of invented jute fibre and plastic are quite similar.

They are not harmful for human health.

Uses:

Eco-friendly jute poly bags made up of Sonali can be used-

  • in garments and food packaging work.
  • as wrapping material and carrying bag.

Significance: Bangladesh is world’s 2nd biggest producer of jute after India. Though Jute, also called as ‘golden fibre’ for its colour and its once-high price, has lost its sheen in past as demand has fallen but it is now being revived by being turned into low-cost biodegradable cellulose sheets that have the look and feel of plastic bag.

Way Ahead: The large scale adoption of Sonali sheet is challenging due to relatively high cost of production which is almost double that of polythene. However, production on a large scale is expected to bring down the cost. For this purpose Government of Bangladesh has approved 9 lakh dollars in April 2019 from its climate change fund to help in large-scale production of these bags.

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