Tree free by 2003? Entrepreneurs are hot on the Kenaf paper trail.Entrepreneurs are Hot on the Kenaf Noun 1. kenaf - fiber from an East Indian plant Hibiscus cannabinus
bimli, bimli hemp, Bombay hemp, Hibiscus cannabinus, kanaf, kenaf, Indian hemp, deccan hemp - valuable fiber plant of East Indies now widespread in cultivation Paper Trail
Doing without paper is an untenable solution, even for the most dedicated environmentalist environmentalist
a person with an interest and knowledge about the interaction of humans and animals with the environment. . However, doing without trees as a source of paper pulp Paper pulp is a material for making paper. It is usuallly cellulose fibre, and could be wood pulp or non-wood pulp See also
Herbaceous, hairy, annual plant (Hibiscus esculentus or Abelmoschus esculentus), of the mallow family, grown for its edible fruit. Okra leaves are deeply notched; flowers are yellow with a crimson centre. , is rapidly gaining credibility as an alternative paper fiber. An herbaceous her·ba·ceous
1. Relating to or characteristic of an herb as distinguished from a woody plant.
2. Green and leaflike in appearance or texture. crop cultivated in Egypt as far back as 4,000 B.C., kenaf remained virtually unknown here until several innovators began experimenting with it in the 1980s.
"It's exciting when a new product comes along that actually does good," says Phil Peretz, a sales representative for Kinko's, a photocopying chain. Peretz's Berkeley, California store is test marketing kenaf paper, and so far the responses have been positive. "It runs real well through high speed copiers," he says - unlike a hemp/straw paper that didn't hold up for double-sided copies.
Kenaf's tall, bamboo-like stalks grow to heights of 15 feet. It yields seven to 10 tons per acre - about the same as pine trees, which take upwards of 60 years to mature, as opposed to kenaf's 150 days. It grows so quickly, weeds cannot compete. And few herbicides or pesticides are required to cultivate kenaf because its hardy outer fiber, or bast, is nearly insect-proof. Phil Archer, a cotton and vegetable farmer from New Mexico who recently began experimenting with kenaf, agrees: "Everything eats it but nothing hurts it."
Another ecological plus, explains Thomas Rymsza, founder of New Mexico's KP Products, the U.S.'s primary source of kenaf paper, is that "kenaf fibers are not dense like wood, so it doesn't take as many chemicals or as much pressure to cook it." Kenaf paper requires only a single-stage bleaching process, using hydrogen peroxide hydrogen peroxide, chemical compound, H2O2, a colorless, syrupy liquid that is a strong oxidizing agent and, in water solution, a weak acid. It is miscible with cold water and is soluble in alcohol and ether. , rather than chlorine bleach. No chlorine means no dioxin dioxin
Aromatic compound, any of a group of contaminants produced in making herbicides (e.g., Agent Orange), disinfectants, and other agents. Their basic chemical structure consists of two benzene rings connected by a pair of oxygen atoms; when substituents on the rings are residues in pulp mill effluent. KP's five farmers expect to produce 30 tons of paper this year. Rymsza says it should be fairly easy for tree pulp mills to convert to kenaf processing once the confidence is there. He hopes to have his own kenaf mill in operation by 1995.
Kenaf International (KI) of McAllen, Texas, is also forging a kenaf path under the supervision of Dr. Chuck Taylor. Taylor, who works with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA USDA,
n.pr See United States Department of Agriculture. ) committee dedicated to developing new agricultural technologies, presented a paper on kenaf at the First Biomass Conference of the Americas Conference of the Americas can refer to
But paper isn't the only product that comes from kenaf. K-Fibers, a kenaf processor, makes "K-hort," a soil potting mix, and "Nature-Sorb," an oil spill clean-up product which absorbs nine times its weight in oil and costs less than existing materials.
Harold Willett, president of Natural Fibers of Louisiana CODE, OF LOUISIANA. In 1822, Peter Derbigny, Edward Livingston, and Moreau Lislet, were selected by the legislature to revise and amend the civil code, and to add to it such laws still in force as were not included therein. , another kenaf processor, worked for the USDA in the 1980s, after which he designed a facility in Jeanerette, Louisiana, which separates kenaf's outer bast from the inner core. Natural Fibers also produces oil spill cleanup kits, for which Willet recently received a U.S. government contract. "Louisiana farmers can grow kenaf as a third-year alternate to sugar cane, even using the same field equipment," says Willet.
Delta Fiber also opened a separation facility in Charleston, Mississippi last March, using adapted cotton gin technology. A 32-member cooperative cultivated 2,800 acres this year, says cofounder co·found
tr.v. co·found·ed, co·found·ing, co·founds
To establish or found in concert with another or others.
co·found Ernest Brasher. The company produces oil-absorbent pillows, a potting medium, animal bedding and kenaf fiber mats impregnated im·preg·nate
tr.v. im·preg·nat·ed, im·preg·nat·ing, im·preg·nates
1. To make pregnant; inseminate.
2. To fertilize (an ovum, for example).
3. with grass seed, for "roll and grow" lawns. Kenaf is also sold as poultry litter, stable bedding and packing material.
The New Uses Council, a nonprofit organization Nonprofit Organization
An association that is given tax-free status. Donations to a non-profit organization are often tax deductible as well.
Examples of non-profit organizations are charities, hospitals and schools. dedicated to expanding nonfood non·food
Of, relating to, or being something that is not food but is sold in a supermarket, as housewares or stationery. utilization of renewable crops, has helped push kenaf along. Says spokesperson Bruce Abbe, "It helps all of agriculture if kenaf works out, because it offers another choice to farmers." And although kenaf is still struggling to compete economically with low priced wood paper pulp, many believe its time has come.
All told, about 4,300 acres of kenaf were harvested in the U.S. this year, mainly from New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and California. In Europe, 5,000 acres were grown, mainly in Italy. "Europe's fiber shortage...and their enthusiasm for protecting the environment is driving their desire to bring kenaf production on line quickly," Taylor writes. Farmers like Phil Archer are striving to increase their yields so that even nonenvironmentally-motivated farmers will recognize its feasibility.
In some ways, kenaf paper is superior to tree paper. "Printers say it runs better than regular paper," says Gar Smith, editor of the Earth Island Journal, whose summer 1993 issue contained eight pages of kenaf paper in the center. "I wanted to do the whole magazine on it, but it was too expensive," Smith says. Kenaf newsprint doesn't yellow, is stronger than tree paper, requires less ink because it is less porous and provides more paper per roll by weight. Ink rub-off is significantly less too, adds Smith.
"People like the natural, off-white color," says Tim Sweeney of Patagonia, an outdoor clothing manufacturer. "It's lower-contrast, so it's easier on the eye." He is about halfway through successfully volume-testing 30,000 sheets of kenaf paper in his copiers, to determine if kenaf paper causes extra wear and tear on his machines. Since kenaf paper is not slick, there is more friction and it is not as effective in automatic document feeders or FAX machines, he says.
Sweeney is also concerned about the availability and price of kenaf paper - currently more than double that of either virgin or recycled stock. "It's going to be a while before it's standardized. They'll have to produce more than a million tons to be viewed as anything other than a hippie business," says Sweeney, who would like to see kenaf infuse in·fuse
1. To steep or soak without boiling in order to extract soluble elements or active principles.
2. To introduce a solution into the body through a vein for therapeutic purposes. life into small pulp and paper mills now idle due to tree shortages. "Once we create a new paradigm New Paradigm
In the investing world, a totally new way of doing things that has a huge effect on business.
The word "paradigm" is defined as a pattern or model, and it has been used in science to refer to a theoretical framework. , with the true costs of tree paper factored in, kenaf should gain easy acceptance," he says.
"If we had a mill to process kenaf near agricultural lands where it's grown, transportation costs would shrink and then kenaf could be comparably or lower-priced," says Rymsza. That time may be soon. Kenaf research receives over $1 million in steady funding from the USDA each year, says staffer Dan Kugler, adding, "In the next 20 years, kenaf may well be the main paper fiber in the U.S. and Europe."