What is Jute?
La jute is a natural textile fiber of vegetable origin, which can be spun into thick and resistant threads. Jute is one of the cheapest natural fibers on the market, and is second only to cotton in quantity produced and in variety of use in the various commercial sectors where it is used.
Jute fibers are mainly composed of plant materials derived from cellulose and lignin. Jute is part of the raffia fibers - the phloem of the plant, often called "plant skin" - together with kenaf, hemp, linen e ramia.
The fibers of jute they vary in color from off-white to brown and are 1 to 4 meters long.
History of Jute
La jute it arrived late in Europe compared to others textile fibers natural and initially it was an integral part of the culture of Bengal and Bangladesh.
Only from the seventeenth century did the British begin to trade jute: during the reign of the British Empire, jute was used in the armed forces above all to make the famous "Trench bags". More than a billion jute bags they were exported from Bengal to the European trenches during the First World War, but also to the United States as sacks for the collection of cotton.
La jute has a wide range of use: used in fishing, construction, art and the arms industry, as well as in the textile industry. Initially, due to its rough texture it could only be worked by hand, until it was discovered that by treating it with whale oil it could also be machined.
After this discovery began the boom of the industry jute, but the trade in this textile fiber immediately began to falter in the 70s due to the emergence of even cheaper synthetic textile fibers.
Today we can consider it as a recovering crop.
The Jute Plant
La jute plant it is part of the Malvaceae family. It is sown and harvested annually (the white jute crop ripens in July, the brown jute crop a little later). It grows well in monsoon climates, since growing jute requires a lot of rain, essential not only for the good growth of the plant, but also to supply the jute workers with the necessary water for the maceration phase.
The maceration of the jute consists in immersing the cut plant in slow-flowing pond water, to clean and soften the fiber and to allow it to be removed from the stem.
A dry season of rainfall can reduce the size of the crop and affect the fiber quality. While too much rain before the plants reach maturity can similarly reduce the size of the crop. Early harvesting is often necessary to avoid flood damage or dry season damage.
The plant of jute it can reach a height of over four meters and a length of fibers of the same size. The lower part of the jute plant it is used for different purposes due to the inferior quality of the extracted fiber. The less valuable fibers are often blended with jute fibers longer to increase profit margins by exploiting all the available material.
The stem of the jute plant is also not wasted: it is used as firewood. These elements help to evaluate jute as one low environmental impact cultivation, as nothing is wasted.
Cultivation of the Jute Plant
La jute plant it is grown mainly by small farmers and then marketed by wholesalers.
Jute production is influenced by weather conditions and varies from 2,5 to 3,2 million tons per year, like wool
La jute it is a product of South Asia and in particular of India and Bangladesh: about 95% of the world jute is grown in these countries. Nepal and Myanmar also produce a small amount of jute. Although Pakistan does not produce much, it imports a significant amount of raw jute, mainly from Bangladesh.
The spread of jute in the textile industry has expanded beyond traditional applications, it is in fact used in high-value fabrics for furnishings and in composite materials, in particular it is also sold as wood fiber. With the increase in demand for natural fibers at the expense of synthetic ones, it is expected an increase in the demand for jute.
Although i jute products represent only a small percentage of total consumption, this segment could expand rapidly with further investment in resources and skills. In terms of conservation agriculture, jute plays an important role, and today it is accepted as ecological and economical material for various applications in the geotextile sector.
Advantages of Jute Cultivation
- The jute plant does not need fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, grows without chemical assistance and leaves the soil and connected aquifers intact.
- The jute plant grows rapidly maturing in about 100 days, so it offers quick turnover and a constant supply of jute fibers.
- The jute plant cleans the air: Several studies have shown that one hectare of jute plants can absorb up to 15 tons of carbon dioxide and release up to 11 tons of oxygen during the growing season.
- The jute plant improves the quality of the soil: the jute replenishes the nutrients of the soil and reduces the risk of pests and diseases, therefore when the crops are rotated - after the jute has been harvested - subsequent crops obtain great benefits from the ground.
- Growing jute is cheap - the expense of purchasing fertilizers, pesticides and the like is unnecessary, in addition, a small amount of land can produce a lot of crops, so jute is typically a profitable crop.
Jute production in Bangladesh (video)
Jute Textile Fiber
The textile fiber of jute it is extracted from the plant in two different ways, chemically or naturally. Given the expense of using chemicals to remove the fiber from the root, mechanical processes are more common than chemical ones.
Jute fiber is biodegradable and 100% recyclable and when burned or left in landfills, it does not generate toxic gases. These are certainly some of the reasons that lead us to define the jute fabric one of the greenest ecological fabrics on the market together with hemp.
The jute fiber has high tensile strength and guarantees a good breathability of jute fabric. Jute fibers are often blended with other textile fibers, both synthetic and natural. The finest threads can be separated and transformed into "fake silk" and subsequently mixed with real silk.
La jute it can also be mixed with wool, but unfortunately it needs a treatment with caustic soda. The crimping, softness, ductility and appearance of jute are improved by this treatment, favoring its ability to be spun with wool, but with a decidedly negative environmental impact due to the use of caustic soda. We therefore advise against the purchase of jute mixed with wool.
Advantages of Jute fabric
The advantages of jute fabric they include good insulating and antistatic properties, as well as low thermal conductivity and moderate moisture retention. Despite its raw appearance, jute can be very comfortable when mixed with other fabrics - an advantage when jute fabric is used for clothing.
Other advantages of the jute fabric are highlighted in the reduced environmental impact of this fiber, just think of the shopping bags made of jute, which reduce the need for disposable plastic bags: only a small percentage of disposable plastic bags are recycled, in fact most of these end up in landfills as unsorted waste.
La jute it can be used over and over again, it will take years for it to break (if you can), and is still a recyclable and biodegradable fiber if left in nature. So we can considered the jute a versatile and sustainable material, a strong, economically convenient and “good” fabric for the planet.
Use of Jute
La jute is a very versatile textile fiber: during the industrial revolution, the jute fiber largely replaced flax and hemp.
Jute bags make up the majority of jute products manufactured.
A key feature of jute is its ability to be used alone or blended with a wide range of other fibers and materials.
While the jute over the years it has been gradually replaced by synthetic materials for some uses, some companies still exploit its biodegradable nature, where synthetic materials would be unsuitable.
Examples of such uses include containers for planting trees, geotextile products for soil and erosion control, and more generally where the application of this material is designed not to be removed.
La jute it is widely used in the agricultural sector and increasingly in the packaging sector, replacing plastic, wood and paper. The use of jute expands into cosmetics, medicines, paints and other products. Often replaces wood and Bamboo for the production of chipboard, pulp and paper.
What can be done with jute?
- Geotextile products
Characteristics of Jute
The qualities of the fabric may vary based on its blending with other fibers. Example: with Elastan or Lycra you gain in elasticity.
|Does not shrink / discolor
The ecological characteristics of the fabric may vary based on textile certifications or blending with other fabrics.
|Natural - Artificial - Synthetic
|Natural raw material
|Recycled raw material
The certifications that can be assigned to the fabric, but which vary according to different factors: manufacturing company, fashion brand, blending.
|Global Organic Textile Standard
|Organic Content Standard
|Global Recycle Standard
|Second Life Plastic
|Fair Wear Foundation
This card can only be found on www.vestilanatura.it
We have always bought clothes, but often without checking what material they are made of. There are fabrics on the market that we find immediately identifiable, while others are not so familiar. Many of these are made with natural fibers.
Natural fibers give garments characteristics such as durability, comfort and the ease with which they can be dyed in different colors. Some fabrics historically never used for clothing are now considered for blending fabrics, especially thanks to nuove technologies that make these fibers more "workable".
One of these fibers is precisely the jute, which is considered "too raw" if left alone, but can be mixed with cotton and others natural fabrics to create sweaters, cardigans and jackets. Jute clothing It therefore falls into the category of clothing in natural fibers.
Most of the jute used in fashion it is used to make bags and shoes, but given the rapid expansion of this fiber, we are sure that in a few years we will see many other products made of jute.
Jute or Hemp?
La difference between jute and hemp it is clear-cut, but these two fibers are often confused. The use is similar, and in some sectors they even compete, just think of the bags or the ropes. In the clothing sector, hemp wins from several points of view: probably the only concrete advantage of jute is the lower cost compared to hemp.
Le jute bags are one of the most popular fashion products of recent years. They are made above all by those fashion brands that produce vegan bags, as an alternative material to those of animal origin, and above all very resistant. We often see bags made from recycled coffee bags. We certainly cannot expect a luxury bag, but rather an “everyday” bag.
Le jute shoes they are less frequent than jute bags, but this material is starting to take a small slice of the market in this sector too. As with bags, we note that jute is often used as a substitute for materials of animal origin to create vegan shoes. Also in this case we do not expect grand gala shoes, but espadrilles and moccasins.
How is jute washed?
The environmental impact of laundry detergents and household cleaners is devastating to our planet, so we highly recommend using ecological detergents.
Jute is an ecological natural fiber and has characteristics in common with hemp. Unlike the latter, however, jute tends to fray more easily; for this reason, to wash clothes made with this yarn without damaging them, it is necessary to avoid high temperatures, as well as washing in the washing machine.
If the type of garment and the size allow it, it is recommended to wash by hand only, preferably with cold water, or at most slightly lukewarm, using a very delicate ecological detergent that does not produce foam.
After filling the basin up to three quarters of its capacity with cold water, add very little detergent and a little baking soda; leave to soak for no more than ten minutes, then proceed to massage the garment very gently, then rinsing it with cold running water.
In the event that there are stains on the fabric, it is advisable to proceed, before washing, with a preliminary treatment, using a sponge dampened in water and a little vinegar.
Washing jute in the washing machine requires several precautions: the garments should be placed in the basket inside a mesh bag to preserve the garments; the selected program must be short, without spinning and with cold water.
The best way to hang garments made of jute is the same as for wool, in a horizontal position on top of a towel, in airy and dry environments.
Do you want to wash your clothes while minimizing water pollution?
- We have selected one of the most sustainable detergent and detergent brands click here to buy an ecological detergent
- You could use a Washing Ball to wash without using detergents click here to buy a washing ball
- You could use the nuovissimo Ecoegg, a nice ecological egg with which you can do about 720 washes click here to buy the ecoegg egg
Do you want more information on Juta? Ask your questions using the form below.
Vesti la natura has created a table with more than 40 sustainable materials, their respective applications in the textile sector, and their suppliers (even for small quantities). To access the table we ask you to donate a small financial contribution to our association. Click here for more information.
Although it is a natural textile fiber and meets the requirements for certification cotton at the moment there is no trace of organic jute. Actually it would not make much sense, as jute is in itself a cultivation that does not require fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
No. Jute is a fabric that absorbs water easily.
Jute is a rough fabric that tends to fray and shed what we call hair (small pieces of fiber).
Jute can be dyed, but is usually sold in the classic natural brown color.