Even though we’re aware of the awful effects of plastic pollution, the detrimental environmental phenomenon continues today. Part of the problem is that plastic is such a durable, accessible material that can be used for a wide range of things such as shipping and packaging. Despite this, we know we must find replacements for synthetic materials that last forever—even though we use them primarily for short-term purposes.
One potential replacement is jute, a vegetable fiber that comes primarily from the species Corchorus olitorius and Corchorus capsularis — and material that is readily available, biodegradable and affordable. If you need help visualizing jute, think of the large sacks that coffee beans often come in. Jute is grown in countries in South East Asia, including India and Bangladesh.
The climate of these nations allows jute to grow throughout the year, and its production process is reasonably simple. Right after cotton, jute is considered as one of the most affordable natural fibers in its range of uses and production volume. This organic material has gained enormous significance in the last years due to its benefits: It doesn’t require a lot of farming space; it’s biodegradable; sustainable and has low production costs. On top of that, jute growth requires less water than most crops and can enhance the fertility of soil if crop rotation techniques are employed.
At the moment, countless products can be made with all-natural jute, such as reusable bags, chair coverings, and curtains. One company that is already producing a wide range of jute products is Deyute, based in Spain.
Jute embodies the necessary conditions that may reverse the course of our plastic problem that is not sustainable, and that we can no longer fail to substitute. For that reason, it’s worth consideration as a more sustainable material.