All About The Paper – NCU Professor Spinning Sugar Cane, Banana Tree Pulp Into Stationery

Paper is generally made from wood fibres, but an assistant professor in Manchester has been experimenting with more than 50 plant fibres as a means of confronting climate change.

When The Gleaner visited Northern Caribbean University in the parish on Wednesday, Dwight Rose was in the process of making two sets of paper from sugar cane and the trunk of a bumpy banana tree.

It was a two-week trip to Japan in 2002 that exposed Rose to cloth and paper making from banana fibres.

“I’ve been improving on it ‘cause they taught us the cloth making, which is to extract the whole fibre and use it and make it into strings,” he recalled.

Rose has placed a greater focus on chemical extraction using sodium hydroxide, the scientific name for caustic soda.

“This is from people at home who eat sugar cane regularly. I just told them ‘when you’re finished eating it, put it aside’,” he said, pointing to the bowl of sugar cane trash soaking in the solution.

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