DOST-PTRI’s Bamboo Textile Processing: Key To Sustainable Local Bamboo Fabric
By: DOST-PTRI Technology Transfer, Information and Promotions Staff
The recognition for the value of bamboo is strengthened with the declaration of September 18 as the World Bamboo Day. Various nations, including the Philippines, have pushed for the increase in people’s awareness of bamboo’s importance in our lives, as House Resolution 197 added to the recognition to proclaim the month of September as the Philippine Bamboo Month.
Figure 1. Opened bamboo textile fibers
The Philippine Textile Research Institute, the Department of Science and Technology’s textile arm (DOST-PTRI), has been invested in developing natural textile fibers as better options to petroleum- and chemical-based synthetics. The Institute has since included bamboo to its efforts at nurturing natural textile materials to support the Philippine contribution towards the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular, SDG12, on sustainable consumption and production.
To maximize the potentials of local bamboo as a vast natural resource, the DOST-PTRI promotes its bamboo textile processing technology to produce natural blended yarns and woven fabrics. Noting that bamboo has the highest textile fiber yield among other textile fibers like pineapple, banana, or abaca, more significant opportunities will be provided for income generation from upstream to downstream for the natural textile industry sector.
The DOST- PTRI technology has been optimized following mechano-chemical processes, and has noted a significant increase in the value of the bamboo pole to its transformation into bamboo textile fibers (BTF) in a spinnable form (Figure 1) to spun yarns (Figure 3). From Php 5.00 for every kilogram, the end product, cotton-blended bamboo yarn (75/25 ratio), rises in value to Php 910.00 per kilogram.
It is also notable that the developed process is community-centric and sustainable in converting poles to textile, the processing being one other than the regeneration route popularly known as the viscose process, an open system known to affect the environment adversely. Diversifying and expanding bamboo use through sustainable textile processing is a step to mainstreaming bamboo as a natural textile.