Jute is a sustainable plant grown in small family owned farms in eastern India. Using traditional methods passed on in their families through the generations, farmers have raised jute plants for hundreds of years.
The botanical name for jute is Corchorus capsularis and it needs warmth and humidity to reach its full height of 10 – 12 feet. Its delicate leaves with tiny flowers are pollinated by insects. When the farmer cuts the full grown plant, he leaves behind a portion of the stem in the ground, which then composts returning valuable nutrients to fertilize the soil for future crops.
After harvest in the summer, bundles of jute stalks are left to dry in the sun, then soaked in rivers and ponds to enable a process of fermentation or “retting” over a three week period to allow the bark or the skin to be stripped by hand. Bundles of raw jute from thousands of small farms are sent to jute mills where the fibers are spun into fabric, to be made into jute bags.
Today the jute industry provides employment to over 5 million people in some of the poorest regions of the world. Its earliest use can be traced back to 800 BC when its shiny golden color resilient fibers were woven into ropes for ships and vessels. It was only in the nineteenth century that jute fibers were shipped from India to mills in Scotland to be woven into fabric for commercial use.
Jute is used extensively in the world’s commodity market and its strong fibers make for good packaging for dry food goods including cocoa, coffee, rice, nuts and sugar and to fill bags with sand and cement.
Natural fiber jute bags offer us a perfect choice to replace oil base plastic bags and paper bags. They are made from natural plant fibers that are strong, durable and resilient and can be reused over and over again for many years and finally biodegrade back into the soil faster than plastic bags.
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