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Banana Fiber as Art Paper Alternative

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    BANANA FIBER AS ART PAPER ALTERNATIVE A Science Investigative Project Division Level TEAM CATEGORY Researchers Elioenie L. Vicente Brent Bracer B. Camacho Karen Joy S. Nietes VILLAFLOR CENTRAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SOUTH WEST DISTRICT VILLAFLOR, OROQUIETA CITY ABSTRACT 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. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT To God, from whom all blessings come, the researchers would like to thank the following:

    Dr. Nida U. Barimbao, School Principal I, for the moral support, and who encouraged conducting an investigatory project for the first time; Mrs. Mary Lynn M. Reyes, the project adviser, who extended her much effort and time on having this project; Villaflor Central Elementary School Teachers, who encouraged and supported the group financially; Mrs. Alicia D. Udal, for giving us the overview of the investigatory project; To parents, for their financial and moral support; To the pupils of Grade IV – VI, for giving us the project materials such as the banana leaves, bark/trunk and stalks; Mrs. Rhea Rose R.

    Aba-a, the daughter of the project adviser, for helping us in researching the project over the Internet, as well as encoding and printing our project paper; And to all who extended their support for the success of this research. Researchers  LIST OF FIGURES Figure #TitlePage 1Chopping of stalks into less than 1” pieces 8 2Boiling of stalks in a pot while consistently stirring the mixture8 3 Spreading the slurry consistently against the screen 9 4Laying the screen against the wall9 5 Pinning the paper on the clothespins10 6Natural pale brown color – coming from pulp made from 11 the banana trunk/bark A reddish brown color – output from pulp coming from the stalks12 8 A dark green colored paper – output coming from the mixture 12 of banana stalks, trunk and leaves 9 Orange-dyed banana paper13 10Red-dyed banana paper14 11Blue-dyed banana paper14 12Yellow-colored pulp15 13Green-dyed paper15 14Pink-dyed pulp16 Chapter I INTRODUCTION A. Background of the Study The fundamental element of modern society throughout the world is fiber. Whether in clothing, building materials, paper products and packaging, fiber is essential. Consequently, there’s a huge amount of fiber throughout the world. Some sources take a long lead-time to harvest.

    Others depend on seasonal availability, whereas others cause an overall negative effect on the environment due to the consumption of forests, which is a critical resource. Given the high demand of fiber and the motivation to find a sustainable source, there is a need to find an innovative way of being able to address the growing world need for fiber and paper. The idea of using something out of the ordinary plant as a fiber and paper source, that is available around the world, much more in the Philippines, is exceptional. The banana plant grows in less than a year and is totally a renewable resource.

    Every year, each tree produces just 1 big bunch of bananas, before it is chopped down and left to rot, which contributes to agricultural waste. What better use of the chopped down parts, but to make something essential and be put to good use, such as banana paper. Even with the digital age, the need for paper has not been diminished, with the growing needs of the educational, art and design sectors. Making an alternative paper out of a natural paper making solution will not only make a quality paper, but also help in preserving the environment, by eliminating chemicals in the process.

    B. Statement of the Problem This study aims to determine if banana fiber from the banana tree bark, stalks and leaves is a good alternative for art paper for design and crafts. This study seeks to answer this question: Is banana fiber from banana tree bark, stalks and leaves a good alternative for art paper for design and crafts? C. Hypothesis There is no significant difference between the output of banana fiber as art paper alternative with the existing paper industry options for craft making and design. D. Significance of the Study

    In the present age, deterioration of forest resources and poor economic performance has been the face of the country for years. Paper products have heavily relied on perpetual cutting down of forests, which depleted natural resources and the hope for the future generations faded. Not only that, the waste management system of the government was never close to commendable, with 1. 3M tons of wastes produced annually since 1995 and the number has exponentially grown every year, according to the Global Waste Survey Report.

    Even with the households and commercial industries as the major contributors to such wastes, the agricultural sector must not be neglected as well. This study will be of great importance in terms of eliminating agricultural wastes by using the banana plant, which is a renewable resource given its abundance and short harvesting lead time. As science researchers, we would like to contribute to the environment by helping in eliminating wastes and detrimental environment effects by using natural methods of pulping banana fiber.

    The result of this study could lead to creating livelihood for the community, by providing localized industry of crafts, made entirely out of natural banana fiber paper. This will entail a robust local industry, by providing jobs to the people and at the same time promoting environmental ethics. E. Scope and Limitations of the Study This study limits on the use of certain banana plant parts, such as trunk bark, stalks and leaves. Other parts of the banana plant are not included in the study. Furthermore, the study did not make use of any type of chemicals and additives to achieve the desired paper output. F.

    Review of Related Literature In Australia, a paper technology company called Papyrus Australia, was able to develop a world-first technology that converts the waste trunk of a banana plant into alternatives to forest wood products to be used in paper, packaging, furniture, building, construction and other industries. Banana tree trunks, which are sustainable, renewable and abundant, are currently viewed as a problematic waste stream with no other economically-viable uses. On the other hand, current methods of making paper are often toxic, wasteful of water and energy, and terribly unsustainable [Cascio, 2006].

    Recycling can only go so far, what’s needed is an alternative method of making paper that is less-harmful to begin with. Optimal parameters for an environmentally friendly but highly sustainable paper production industry include: renewable raw materials, preferable a non-seasonal secondary fiber crop of which banana tree trunk is a prime example given that is cropped continually all year round; low water usage; low energy usage; low levels of introduced chemical additives, and preferably none, but with any discharge being non-toxic and non-polluting.

    To add to that, production costs for banana paper are estimated to be less than one-fifth of traditional pulp paper, and the capital investment costs just 3% of those required for pulp paper production. CHAPTER II METHODOLOGY A. 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 B. 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. C. General Procedure 1. 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. 2. 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. 3. 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. 4. 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. 5. 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. Figure 1. Chopping of stalks into less than 1” pieces Figure 2. Boiling of stalks in a pot while consistently stirring the mixture

    Figure 3. Spreading the slurry consistently against the screen Figure 4. Laying the screen against the wall Figure 5. Pinning the paper on the clothespins CHAPTER III RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS A. FINDINGS 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. Figure 6. Natural pale brown color – coming from pulp made from the banana trunk/bark Figure 7. A reddish brown color – output from pulp coming from the stalks Figure 8. A dark green colored paper – output coming from the mixture of banana stalks, trunk and leaves B. ANALYSIS OF THE DATA 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. Figure 9 – Orange-dyed banana paper Figure 10 – Red-dyed banana paper Figure 11 – Blue-dyed banana paper Figure 12 – Yellow-colored pulp Figure 13 – Green-dyed paper Figure 14 – Pink-dyed pulp CONCLUSIONS 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. RECOMMENDATIONS 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. BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Anderson, Tomas (2010) AF and EARTH University in Costa Rica team up for banana paper manufacturing plant project. – www. afconsult. com Cascio, Jamais (2006) Banana Paper – www. worldchanging. com/archives/003982. html Caturao, Romeo D. , (2005) Waste Management: The Practical Application of New Ethical Concepts of Eco-Ethics International Union (pp. 8-14) Papyrus Australia Technology – www. papyrusaustralia. com. au/technology Sternberg, Luz C. (2008) Deforestation in the Philippines: An Economic Assessment of Government Policy (pp. 4-6)

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