Jute / Hessian / Burlap – Durable and Versatile Textile Fabric

Jute Hessian Burlap textile fabric at Amberoot. Reproduced with the kind permission of the Director and the Board of Trustees, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. © Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Jute comes from a vegetable, which is derived from the plant family Sparrmanniaceae. Also known as ‘the golden fibre’, owing to its golden, silky luminescence. Contrary to most textile fibres, which consist mainly of cellulose, jute fibres also included lignin. Usually found in wood fibres, lignin brings extra strength and durability, making it ideal for burlap, hessian or gunny cloth fabric. However, the finest fibres can in fact be separated out and used to create imitation silks. It blends very well with other fibres, so can be found in many textiles ranging from curtains and floor coverings to clothes. 95% of the fibre is produced in India and Bangladesh. Jute is strong, durable, affordable, environmentally friendly and versatile.

Benefits

It offers an attractive alternative to toxic plastic bags, as well as being used for strong sacks, carpets, rugs, shoes, apparel and geo-textiles. Cultivating jute reinvigorates and cleanses the air since it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen much faster than trees. Jute reaches maturity quickly, between 4-6 months, making it an incredibly efficient source of renewable material. It relies on natural rainfall and has little need for fertilizer or pesticides. In fact, Jute enhances the fertility of the soil it grows on for future crops. Jute is a fast-drying and a breathable fibre. The durability and affordability of jute makes it one of the best fibres.

Drawbacks

It can only be grown in tropical humid lowland areas. Jute has little elasticity and in clothing, it does crease easily, which can be rectified by combining it with other materials.

Recommendations

Always hand wash or dry clean jute, and for clothing, consider choosing natural fabric blends. Always opt for jute that has been biologically retted (using water) rather than chemically retted – which is much more cost-efficient anyway.

 

This article is part of series “Biodegradable Textile Fabrics”:
Hemp – Perhaps The Most Environmentally Friendly Textile Fabric,
Banana – Excellent Durable Food Waste Textile Fabric,
Abaca – Highly Versatile and Breathable Textile Fabric,
Sisal / Agave Sisalana – Very Durable and Highly Absorbent Textile Fabric,
Kapok – Lightweight and Water Resistant Textile Fabric,
Jute / Hessian / Burlap – Durable and Versatile Textile Fabric,
Cotton – World’s Dirtiest Natural Textile Fabric,
Linen – Leading Environmentally Friendly Textile Fabric,
Ramie / China Grass – Antibacterial and Versatile Textile Fabric,
Bamboo – If Responsibly Produced Can Be a Sustainable Textile Fabric,
Coconut / Coir – Durable and Antibacterial Textile Fabric.
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