Jute is a natural fibre obtained as an extract from the bark of the jute plant that grows like any other organic crop. This fibrous plant in earlier days was also used by the inhabitants as a delicacy that went along with their staple diet. Jute was earlier called by its Bengali name ‘Pat’ (Patta in Sanskrit).
Jute isn’t a recent invention, its roots trace back to the early 18th century. Its first use was to harvest the jute fibre to make and twine maritime rope, for ships of the time. After a few years jute was seen as a good material for hard wearing carpets and as such was spun into commercial carpets.
Jute cloth as you now know it (or burlap!) was first woven in 1838 facilitated by better technology to do so. The first commercial use of the newly spun jute cloth was to create what is now universally recognised as the “Gunny” sack.
While jute has primarily remained in ‘packaging’ and ‘bags’ territory and will perhaps remain there for long, the other areas where it has started to find good market are:
- floor covering
- furnishing fabrics
- wall hangings
- showpieces etc.
Due to its natural content and congenial appearance it has also been well taken in the up market ‘office stationery’ segment. Here jute made pulp and hand made paper has found worthwhile application. Handmade paper being strong, having good load bearing capacity, not-easily-tearable and also can be attractively dyed, has proved to be good material for making carry bags, folders, packets, gift boxes and such other consumables.
Another new area where application experimentation of jute material has proved promising is in the footwear segment. The products are jute slippers, shoes and disposable slip-ons. Shoe uppers of different designs and uses are fast finding place in the wish list of consumers. The disposable variety is ideally suited for the hospitality sector, hotels in particular.
Jute made blankets, comforters, coverlets have proved to be useful in the hilly and mountainous regions where protection from cold is a round the year exercise. The purpose is served better because of its low cost which makes it affordable and accessible to the poor inhabitants in these remote locations.
Amongst the high end technology products are jute composites, geo-jute and machine made paper, shoe bed, fine-yarn spinning, jute and jute blended yarn and superior grade fabric.
All these above described products are later developments and are still in the process of continuous improvisation and development. However, amongst the newest upcoming areas which holds promise are the knockdown furniture and household interior products.
Jute made composite tiles have been well appreciated and have been requisitioned in some of the European countries for use as exterior lining to concrete structures like building, stadium etc. Also non-woven jute products and jute molded products hold good promise both in the consumer durable sector as well as for industrial use.
Application of jute in the diverse areas is opening new vistas in its usefulness. Not only is jute bringing about cleanliness in the environment it is also making way for a nature friendly plant fibre enter the daily lives of human.
Gradual replacement of conventional material with jute will certainly go a longway in saving forest resources such as wood. Additionally, jute product making technology especially in handicrafts and handloom being at the lower end of technology, require low skill for their application. Because of this the diversified jute sector is able to provide sizeable employment especially in the rural areas and amongst women.
It also contributes in keeping ethnic art forms alive. Depending on the perfection and creativity of the artisans and craftpersons, the products find their way to the respective markets.
Popular Commercial Jute Applications
- Jute yarn of various counts
- Jute twine made by winding two or more yarn strings
- Jute cloth of different variety and for different applications like
- Carpet backing cloth
- General packaging purpose
- Converting into sacks for carrying Foodgrain, Vegetable, Sugar, Fertilizer, Cement etc
Jute Common Uses Worldwide
Fine quality of yarn, which is used in weaving finer quality of fabric. Blended fabric where even better quality of fabric is woven blending jute yarn with other superior yarn.
Jute fabric could be chemically processed, dyed and printed to produce colorful fabric for manufacturing shopping bags, designer bags, brief cases and suitcases.
Jute pulp for applications like making paper. Moulds etc.
Jute particles boards or boards made of jute sticks. This in now being used in house hold interior applications and knockdown furniture.
Jute non-woven products, for industrial applications like automobile industry, underground cable encasings etc.
Jute geo-textile, which finds applications in holding soil erosion, making rural roads, embankment building, landslide prevention, landscapinug etc.
Handicraft products, decorative and utility products of ethnic nature. This has an infinite range.
Floor coverings , mats and under-layings etc.