Origin & History
Jute is originally from India and Bangladesh, where it's known as The Golden Fibre. It has been used by humans for thousands of years. The earliest discoveries were in Asia and Africa, where its stem was used for cordage and weaving fibre, and the leaves were eaten.
Chinese paper makers in Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) would use jute, along with hemp, silk and cotton.
There are records from the year 1590 AD that villagers in India would wear clothes made from jute.
So it has been our ally for a very long time. It's easy to grow and provides a tensile strength, which has been very useful for us humans.
Now the question is: How’s it sustainable?
Just like hemp, jute grows with virtually no use of fertilizers and pesticides. Simply rain water will do the trick. Less chemicals means less everything: less water and air pollution, less health risks for animals and people, less carbon foot print, etc.
it also means that small family farms have one less cost barrier when it comes to planting and growing it, which allows for jute to be an incremental crop to support the income of these families.
It grows very fast
A jute plant reaches maturity (10 to 12 feet tall) in 4 to 6 months. With faster harvest cycles, less land is needed for its cultivation.
This is a huge deal, because we see farming taking over native forests all over the world. From the Amazon Rainforest (for soy) to the Borneo Rainforest (for palm oil). So the fact that already-farmed land can be reutilized more frequently means that no native forest is been brought down, and those ecosystems stay intact.
It heals the soil instead of killing it. Jute nourishes and fertilizes the soil, leaving it ready for future crops.
This is another similarity between jute and hemp. Both these plants are quite special in the regard that they do not spoil the soil but absorbing all of it's nutrients and leaving nothing behind. Soil is a very complex and full-of-life ecosystem, where bacteria and mycelium need organic matter in order to thrive and create a healthy soil for plants themselves. So the fact that these plants are able to grow without draining the soil, is a wonderful aspect.
A great carbon sink
One hectare of jute plants can consume about 15 tons of CO2 from atmosphere and release about 11 tons of oxygen in 100 days. Whereas trees absorb around 200 kg of CO2 over the same period.
As jute grows so fast, it means it demands more carbon (from CO2) to create sugars and make it grow. As we know, plants keep only about 40% of the carbon it absorbs from the atmosphere, and redirects the other 60% to the soil.
The best “ables”
It's compostable because it's a natural organic fibre. But also recyclable, because it's a tough fiber.
By being compostable, it means that it breaks down to the atomic level, which will be used to power new forms of life. By being recyclable, is can be reused to create new items without having to go through the entire farming process again, therefore consuming even less land.
Jute in Rather Green
You can find jute in many of our products, mainly in the shape of webbing, used for making strong and durable handles able to carry heavy loads for years.
Along with hemp, jute is one of our most sustainable fibers. Another great thing about it is that it's very affordable, as opposed to hemp, which still has a long way to go in terms of legislation, production and commercialization.Resources: