Vol. XXV, 4TH Quarter
Young coconuts are best enjoyed for their refreshing and therapeutic coconut water and fresh meat. But the young husks which are usually disposed of have been found to be of good use to the Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI).
Notorious stainers these young coconut husks may be, but PTRI just found a way to turn this staining into a positive light by using it as a textile dye. Young coconut husk extract imparts red to maroon color on silk, piña-seda and piña while it produces an old rose color on cotton. The colorfastness to laundering and light ratings of the dyed materials are satisfactory for all these types of material used. This capability to impart red color is a welcome treat for dyers who are in great dependence on the non-colorfast red color from sibukao (Caesalpinnia sappan).
PTRI’s R&D studies revealed that young coconut husks sourced from different locations produce varying shades. Thus coming up with the desired shade and intensity requires good colormatching capabilities and adjustment of dyeing parameters. It was found that coconuts from high elevations yield almost no color compared with coconuts from coastal and low lying areas.
This new use of young coconut husks offers additional income from what was formerly considered as waste. Likewise, compulsory chopping before extraction facilitates rapid decomposition of the by- product unlike halved young husks that endanger the waterways and drainage systems because they take long time to decompose. Most importantly, the emerging natural dye industry would run complimentary to the National Coconut agenda as it does not compete with the food and health sector in the use of coconut.
The Young Coconut Husk Extraction and Textile Application Technology was piloted using various materials, including parts of the Bahaghari and kaLIKHAsan Collections of Kingsmen Corporation and Mariana Fashion Apparels, respectively. This was also part of the package of technologies adopted and commercialized by Soumak Collection to produce one of their original color options. The dyed shirts are sold in selected shops in California, New York, and Asia, and very soon in Europe. They were also tried on bed linens of Soumak’s Bed ‘n’ Beddings in which the coconuts produced the color old rse.
The bounties from coconut are endless as PTRI shares in the nationwide bandwagon on the use and promotion of this crop. The valuable red color it provides might just be the elusive source of stable and colorfast red color for locally produced and woven organic materials in the Philippines today.