May 22 2019
Jute is a natural vegetable fibre procured from the stem of the plants in the Corchorus family. Known as “The Golden Fibre” due to its golden silky shine, it is strong, versatile and 100% biodegradable. It is one of the most environmentally friendly fibres from seed to expired fibre. It is the second most important vegetable fibre after cotton for cultivation and various uses. Jute, also known as hessian or burlap, is used for sacking, cloth, twine and rope. The fibres are woven into curtains, floor coverings, clothing and bags. One hectare of Jute plants consumes over 15 tonnes of CO2, several times more than trees.
India and Bangladesh are the biggest producers of Jute with around 90% of the world’s production. It needs high temperatures and high humidity to thrive, so the best source is the Bengal Delta Plain in the Ganges Delta.
Jute is farmed using traditional methods and is one of the oldest industries in this region. The crop is rain fed with little need for fertilizers or pesticides and can grow to a height of 12 feet in only 4 to 5 months. Once the flowers appear, harvesting begins. The stems are cut down, dried and then soaked in flowing water. This process, called retting, dissolves the gum that holds the fibres together so that they can be extracted from within the stem. The fibres are then woven.
Jute has been as integral part of Bengali culture for centuries. Much of the raw jute was exported to the UK in the 19th & 20th centuries where it was processed in mills. Production peaked in the 1950s and 60s before a long decline in demand set in due to the development of synthetic materials which captured the market, forcing the closure of most mills.
Jute is a 100% biodegradable and the most environmentally friendly fibre. It’s cheap and cost effective,
re-usable, long-lasting and durable. There are two grades available to suit your budget