The current environmental situation of the Philippines calls for an initiative to cut down on wastes, and repurpose renewable resources such as the banana plant. One way to do it is to make fiber paper from the banana plant. Also, use of chemicals was eliminated in the process to protect the environment from further deterioration due to contamination.
The quality of handmade banana paper with no additives or chemicals has been shown to be useful in art decorations, gift-wrapping and an eco-friendly paper substitute. This project aims to produce quality paper from banana pulp from banana stalks, bark and leaves. The banana pulp was achieved by gathering, chopping and boiling the stalks, bark and leaves. The pulp was divided into 3 samples: pulp from stalks, pulp from bark, and pulp from a mixture of leaves, bark and stalks. The three samples were specifically used to distinguish which pulp material will be suited for paper coloration for art material purposes.
It was observed that the pulp made from the banana bark would yield the most suitable color for paper dyeing. With its natural pale brown color, it will be easier to produce various dyed paper by mixing in dye with the banana fiber slurry. The by-products of the dyed banana fiber can then be used to substitute gift-wrapping paper, invitation cards, paper bags, and other art paper by-products. The researchers concluded that banana fiber from trunk, leaves and stalks is a good alternative for art paper.
Materials / Equipment 1 medium-sized basin full of banana stalks / trunks / leaves 1 large pot with enough water Firewood Tripod Ladle Knife Chopping board Pot holder 12” x 15” silkscreen 10” x 12” silkscreen 9” x 12” silkscreen.
Preparation of Raw Materials Approximately one (1) basin full banana stalks were obtained and chopped to thin and fine pieces less than 1” long. The same amount of banana trunks were gathered and sliced into small pieces. About 3 kilograms of banana leaves, trunks and stalks were likewise collected as a dependent variable.
- Pulping of the Banana Stalks The banana stalks were placed in a large pot, filled with enough water so that the stalks floated. They were then boiled in the pot on the stove. The stalks were then subjected to constant stirring for about an hour. After stirring, the pot was removed from the stove and a blender was used to whip the stalks into fine slurry.
- Pulping of Banana Trunk The banana trunk pieces also underwent the same procedure as the banana stalks. No alterations in the process had been made.
- Pulping of Banana Trunk Bark, Leaves and Stalks The same procedure for the banana stalks was also undertaken for the trunk bark, leaves and stalks.
- Papermaking The potful of stalks were then brought outdoors and ladled on a fine mesh screen frame. The slurry was spread lightly and consistently against the screen. The screen was laid against the side of a building vertically so that the part of the banana stalk slurry dripped down onto the ground. The slurry was allowed to remain on the screen to dry almost all the way, until it was just slightly damp. After which, the banana paper was peeled off the screen and pinned with clothespins and hanged on a clothesline to dry for one or two days, until completely dry.
- Paper Testing The 3 samples of paper were then evaluated, based on the consistency of the fiber and coloration of the end product to determine which is suitable for fiber dyeing.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
In undertaking the experiment, the samples showed that there is no significant difference in the thickness, consistency and overall quality of the paper output. It was observed that at its natural state, all paper output are durable, easy to manipulate, cut and sew through, making them suitable for art, decoration and design. A trial and error method has been utilized to come up with various quality of the paper.
The sample made from the trunk/bark fiber pulp showed to have the natural pale brown color. Using this pulp output, further experimentation on this sample consisted of dyeing into different colors such as red, blue, orange. To pique the interest, other colors were also used such as yellow, green and pink.
The fiber samples were divided into 3 groups, based on their plant source, and was tested for natural appearance and paper consistency. Experimentation results have shown that there is no significant difference in the strength and paper consistency of the three samples: trunk/bark, stalks and leaves.
The samples coming from the bark pulp yielded the most suitable color for color processing, which was the natural brown color. It has been found out that more dye must be used to achieve much brighter colors. Several crafts were then made from the output which included a water absorbent tray, paper bag, slippers, bouquet and as a gift wrapping alternative. Based on the results and findings of the study, banana paper is practically costless because the materials used were accessible in the locality as agricultural wastes.
The high potential of this project would be of great help for the local industry in terms of producing high quality crafts and design for the local market, which in turn will create jobs and a localized banana fiber industry. Further, the process in itself will have no detrimental effects to the health of people involved in making banana paper, since the procedure doesn’t call for the use of any additives or chemicals.
The group recommends that the pulping time and heat condition must be carefully monitored, as excessive and short pulping time may yield paper inconsistencies which could greatly affect the quality of the paper. The size of the stalks must also be uniform to attain consistency in the paper thickness. Also, the group recommends that a spare blender or mixer must be used since constant usage of the blender will dull the blades. Furthermore, we will suggest this to our EPP teachers to let the pupils do this simple project for art exhibit on City Fiesta. This will also serve as an income-generating activity for the class. Lastly, the group recommends further for the use of art paper in MSEP subjects, instead of buying art paper materials.
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