‘Jute poly bag’ discovered by BJMC could begin a new era of reviving jute

Rahbar Hossain        
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When the world is anxious about ecological impact of polyethene and polypropylene bags right then people are going to get a solution for it from Bangladesh.  Though yet no commercial name is set, it could be mentioned as ‘Jute Poly Bag’.

Several times many biodegradable and eco-friendly bags have been inaugurated all over the world but not endured due to valorization. This time Bangladeshi scientist Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan, presently working as scientific advisor of Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and former Chief Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission invented a biodegradable and eco-friendly bag from jute cellulose which is being considered as a great achievement for Bangladesh. So far no official name is given to this bag but soon a proposal will be given to the ministries to name it as ‘Sonali Bag’.

Figure 1: Optical microscopic image of jute microfibre in ‘Jute Poly Bag’.
Figure 1: Optical microscopic image of jute microfibre in ‘Jute Poly Bag’.

Properties and chemical ingredients

The bag looks like polyethene bag but actually not. Strength is also about to same of polyethene bag, 100% eco-friendly, sustainable, recyclable and will be mingled with soil within only 3-4 months where polyethene took even 2oo years. Used colors are also food grade.

Main chemical ingredients are –

  • Jute cellulose
  • Synthetic polymer as binder (biodegradable)
  • Cross-linker for chemical reaction

Jute contains about 72-75% cellulose and 50-55% could be extracted.

Cost and feasibility

Since many previous inventions could not sustain in the market because of high price, it is a big challenge for this ‘Jute Poly Bag’ to keep the price reasonable and feasible for the mass people. The inventor of this bag Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan is expecting when it goes in mass production the price will be in under reach of people. The main raw material that means jute is available in Bangladesh and that’s why he hopes that the price will be reasonable.

The cost will depend on variables like-

  • Availability and cost of raw materials
  • Cost of machineries
  • Process cost
  • Bank loan and other facilities from govt. etc.

Uses

This bag is a value added product and that’s why this use should be classified. According to Dr. Mubarak Ahmad Khan it could be used in garments packaging. The bags also could be used for food packaging. Dr. Khan is further working on it to extend the use to cover ice-cream. He also packed red gram, rice, sugar and even dairy milk for a long time to test quality change and contamination but there was no contamination or quality problem. That means the bag is not harmful for human health. A.K. Nazmuzzman, Advisor, Dept. of Jute Production of BJMC said to a television channel recently that the world is now highly environment concerned and from that aspect we are going to produce Jute Poly Bag which will meet up the local demand and also may take the international market.

Figure 2: Garment products and food products are packed for quality testing.
Figure 2: Garment products and food products are packed for quality testing.

Production and possibilities

It is not only for replacing the plastic bag; it has a huge world market possibility. Already BJMC took initiatives for piloting production, besides BJMC going for an acquisition of 7-8 acres land in Narsingdi where the daily production will be 3-4 tonnes of bags. All over the world daily about 500 billion bags are used and if Bangladesh use all jute produced in Bangladesh and produce bags then one-fourth of demand could be meet up of the world. So it can be said that there is billion to trillion dollar business opportunities with this bag for Bangladesh.

Figure 3: ‘Jute Poly Bag’ sample.
Figure 3: ‘Jute Poly Bag’ sample.

Bangladesh can claim its geographical indication (GI) product in future like Jamdani saree which will enhance its global value and can protect its right to Bangladesh. If the govt. encourages the jute cultivators and give facilities then very soon the proposed ‘Sonali Bag’ will be new hope for Bangladesh moreover the world and the people will get suitable alternative of plastic bag.

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