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Eco-Friendly Coir Ropes and Mats – Natural Alternatives to Nylon and Plastics

The author hails from South Indian village, situated in the South-West coastal region. He is into farm science and agriculture.

Coir products

Coconut is known as the giver of all your wishes. Be it your food, the place of dwelling or your agricultural needs, whichever may be the case, which is always benefited by the coconut products, if it is available in the locality. One of the products from the coconut is from its husk known as the coir rope. It is also simply called the coir, which is produced from the fibres of the mesocarp or husk of the coconut.

India, Vietnam and Sri Lanka are the largest producers of coir in the world. Besides, Bangladesh, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Malaysia and Thailand are producing coir and the total global production of coir amounts to 1.22 million MTs. India accounts for almost 55% of the coir production. This is too low compared to the coconut husk going waste in India as well as in the world. In the world, 61.1 million tonnes of coconuts are being produced and in Indonesia 19 million MTs, in the Philippines, 14 million MTs and in India 11.5 million MTs of coconut were produced in the year 2017.

Since India's independence industries had picked up and established as a home industry type of business. It got established well and formed its own identity in the market. Starting from as simple as guiding a garden creeper for directing it towards to as strong task as tying a ship to the port platform were performed by this rope of different thicknesses.

Coconut husk from coconut commodity is used for making this strong rope.

Recently, there has been the use of alternative products such as plastic or the nylon ropes in the place of coir ropes.

Coir rope from coconut husk fiber

Coir rope from coconut husk fiber

Coconut has 35% fiber

FAOSTAT

CountryCoconuts in Metric Tonnes

India

11469837

Indonesia

18983378

The Philippines

14049131

Gardening uses

There are a large number of uses for coconut products in the garden. Coconut husk is used to grow orchids. Tender coconut shells are used to grow small herbs as a pot. Square width is used as a growing medium in the nursery. Wire rope is used for holding the nursery bags for guiding the creepers to a certain place.

Coir in households

Coir mats on doorsteps and square-based mattresses were popular at one time. Later this is taken over by the synthetic products and due to their attractiveness and also durability alternative products are extensively used. But later on due to realisation that they are harmful to the environment there is developing consciousness regarding the use of synthetic products. Now again coir and the rubber are gaining importance.

Swing ropes were used earlier in the households for playing. These were replaced by either by nylon ropes or by steel chains.

Coir rope knit cots were in use in olden days, which are missing nowadays. Transports well hung on wire rope hangers. Lord Krishna taking out the butter from the hung pots was illustrated in the mythology. Nowadays the jars of butter are finding their place in the fridge.

Coir rope decorative hangings

Coir rope decorative hangings

Ropes in agriculture and farming

Whether it is for timing animal for its calf binding something in the farm where was popularly used. Later on, nylon ropes have become the alternative and were extensively used. Now in these fields also people are finding that on the one hand they are not environmentally friendly and on the other hand they sometimes become dangerous due to slipping-knot and suffocating.

Use of coconut husk

In the time and firewood was used for burning the household hearth, which is now replaced by the gas cylinder fuel supply the use of firewood as well as coconut has have diminished drastically. Now occasionally coconut husk is used for mulching to retain moisture content in the soil. In seedling nurseries, coco peat is used as a growing medium. Earlier days when there was a great demand for the coconut husk used to go for industry. Coconut husks were retted and then ginned to make coir rope.

Increasing labour charges for making the wire rope and lack of large scale organisation have resulted in high-cost enquiry production. Due to this could not withstand itself in the market in competition with the synthetic nylon.

However, at present, there is more consciousness regarding the environmental aspects of preservation of nature generation of wealth from the waste and use of more and more eco-friendly products has resulted in increasing demand for the coir.

Those environmentally conscious people are now using coir in place of synthetic nylon. Hence this industry has once again picked up and gaining its lost place in the market.

In the year 2020 and beyond has great scope as against its synthetic competitor. There are various decorative arts and crafts made from which are becoming popular among statics loving people.

Coconut husk useful as mulch

Coconut husk useful as mulch

Butter-milk hanger rope facility

Butter-milk hanger rope facility

Final thoughts

Out of the estimated capacity of about 15 million MTs of coir in the world only less than 10% is utilized at present. What is needed is better production standards to improve finer processed fibres. If the fibres are made softer and finer, they will find many uses in the personal uses of the product.

However, being the best eco-friendly article to synthetic rope, mat, mattress and artefacts, coir utilization must be encouraged at all levels. There is ample scope for promoting these coir products at social and business levels for environmental future perspectives. Let us hope a better tomorrow for the global eco-friendly product manufacturing and the related increase in home-industry labour enhancement and remuneration for the rural workers, especially the women.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Halemane Muralikrishna

Comments

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on January 03, 2020:

Thank you Mr Prateek and Ms Suchismita for your appreciations

Suchismita Pradhan from India on January 03, 2020:

In an era where plastic is dominating us,this article is an eye opener.Using the natural and renewable resource is an important step to win the hazardous plastic monster.Thanks for sharing.This is something all should know.

Prateek Jain from Madhya Pradesh, India on January 03, 2020:

Wonderful article sir. Really informative in all manner.

Halemane Muralikrishna (author) from South India on December 28, 2019:

Yes, Mr Sumit, what I think is that if the government and industry determine, it is easy for eco-friendly development. Our role is communicating the possibilities.

Sumit Chakrabarti from Kolkata on December 27, 2019:

It is quite an insightful article. Honestly, I was not aware that coconut coir ropes have such diverse usage. Most importantly, the eco-friendly feature of these products are ideal for the current era where the ecological balance across the world has been severely disrupted. The article has rightly pointed out that large quantities of coconut husks are wasted in India. If all of them are utilized, there can be a stand-alone industry that can pave the way to set up small and medium-sized businesses and create employments. Kudos to you for illustrating all the key areas!

Prantika Samanta from Kolkata, India on December 26, 2019:

It is good to know that coir products are gradually gaining attention. This will probably minimize the plastic usage. Thank you for the information regarding the uses of coir.

Shreekrishna Sharma on December 26, 2019:

Reduction in usage of plastic products is the need of the hour and definitely coir will be one of the best substitute. Awareness should be given to the society. Good article.