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About Manila Hemp

What is Manila hemp?

Manila hemp, also known as abaca, is a species of banana plant that grows primarily in the Philippines.  The plant is mainly grown for its fibers, which are strong and are often utilized in the production of handicrafts, fabric, furniture, specialty paper, and for engineering.  Due to its broad range of uses, Manila hemp plays a critical role in Philippine economic activity and culture.  Manila hemp also has several environmental benefits, as it is a more sustainable option than wood pulp and fiber to produce paper and cordage.

Manila Hemp

How does Paper Project use Manila hemp?

Paper Project’s paper manufacturer in Mino, Japan makes thin yet durable paper out of Manila hemp to create Paper Project’s signature material, paper yarn.  Fibers get extracted from Manila hemp, dried, and then pulped to make this paper.  The paper is then slit into thin strips, which are twisted with recycled polyester or organic cotton to form the paper yarn.

paper

 

Why does Paper Project use Manila hemp?

There are several reasons why Paper Project uses Manila hemp to produce paper yarn.  One reason is that Manila hemp fibers are strong enough to be made into fine yarn for socks and garments.  Manila hemp fibers are known for their strength, which allows them to be made into a broad range of products. In addition, turning to Manila hemp as an alternative to trees for paper production is beneficial for the fight against climate change, as trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  Manila hemp can also be harvested three times per year, whereas trees take longer to fully develop.  Lastly, interplanting Manila hemp in rainforest areas reduces soil erosion and sedimentation and in turn improves biodiversity in aquatic life in nearby rivers and streams.

Dried Manila Hemp

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