Paper has always been an important part of human history. Paper has been used for books, art, crafts and even as currency. Certain homes, like the traditional domiciles of Japan even use paper as a primary building material.
Paper is made of natural cellulose taken from trees. This is an extremely costly procedure because several trees have to be cut down, processed, and then made into paper. To create 16 reams of paper, you would have to cut down one tree.
To put that in perspective, the average college student uses 7-10 reams of paper every year. This is problematic because if you take into account how much paper the whole world uses, you would realise just how quickly our forests are being depleted.
Trees are becoming a valuable commodity so we definitely need to find a way to create a better, more sustainable way to create more paper without cutting more trees. After all, trees take a very long time to grow so its an extremely difficult task to keep a steady supply of paper without cutting down virgin forests. An average pine forest needs 12 years of initial growing before they can be processed into paper.
As such, it is highly advisable that paper be recycled as often as possible. Paper is a biodegradable product but used paper can always be broken down, recycled, and made into new paper. However, paper pulp degrades over time and can only be recycled several times over. You would also have to add in virgin pulp to get a better quality of paper over time. Heavy bleaching is also required to create white paper, because recycled paper is known for its brown, rough quality.
On the other hand, banana fibre is a better option for paper making. A certain species known as Musa textilis is not known for its edible fruit, which is tough and hard, but is more known for the rich, thick fibres obtained from its leaves and bark.
This banana fibre can create high quality paper that is durable and long lasting, and can be recycled up to 100 times more than regular paper made from pine fibre or something similar. Banana fibre paper has actually been used for a number of bills already. Australia and Japan’s currency is made from banana fibre because it is durable and resistant to water damage.
In fact, cordage made from banana fibre is resistant to salt water damage, so these natural ropes are sought after by fishermen and navy men.
Banana fibre paper is also extremely sustainable. Since Musa textilis is more of a herb rather than a tree, it grows much faster. The turn over rate of a crop of banana plants takes just 12-25 months depending on how rich the soil is. With proper planning, they can yield longer lasting, more efficiently recycled paper in a much shorter amount of time. Paper made from banana fibre should definitely be sought out for world wide use.