In the March 31, 2006 issue in the Eye Opening Eco Facts, you mention the use
of ecofriendly paper made from kenaf. May you be pleased to inform me about the details of
kenaf plants, the parts used in paper making, and the difference in the initial costs
between production of kenaf paper and conventional virgin wood/ bamboo paper?
The kenaf plant is native to eastcentral Africa and has been used for food and fiber for
thousands of cen-turies. The stalk of kenaf is composed of two fibers, the bast, outside,
and the core, inside. The bast is similar in composition to soft wood fibers that are used
to make paper. The core is similar to hard wood fiber that is used for a wide range of
paper products. When harvested, the two fibers are separated. As mentioned in the last
issue of GT, the processing of kenaf paper uses less chemicals and does not require
bleach. The fibers of the kenaf plant have less lignin than trees, making it much easier
to turn into pulp, and hydrogen peroxide, which breaks down into H 2 O during the
bleaching process, a good substitute to chlorine. Kenaf also grows much more rapidly,
12-18 ft. in 150 days, than pine trees. These common paper trees take 7-40 years before
they are ready for harvest! Kenaf also produces 3 to 5 times as much fiber per acre than
pine. Despite increased efficiency, the production of kenaf paper costs 340 per cent more
than that of wood fiber paper. This cost discrepancy is mainly due to the kenaf industry
being new to the market and production processes are still being developed. Many wood
fiber paper mills are subsidised by the government allowing their initial costs to be
less. Increasing the consumer base for kenaf products will help lower the production costs
making kenaf paper prices more competitive in the paper market.
I have a small garden and I am really interested in making it beautiful by planting
flowers. My problem is that I do not have any idea about gardening; how to choose flowers,
which flower should be planted in the season, what is the right time of planting different
flowers etc. I seek your help and guidance.
Tips on what types of flowers you should plant and when to plant them are very dependent
on where you live. Growing native plants and flowers is usually a good choice, especially
for the novice. Native plants tend to be easier to take care of. They dont need as
much supplemental watering, they are less prone to bugs and disease problems and they will
give you more confidence in your gardening skills. Here in India, there are so many native
plants that you should have no trouble finding ones you like. To find out what plants are
native to your area, go to the local nursery and have a look.
You might also want to try plant ing some herbs and
vegetables. It is always nice to be able to eat from your own garden, and they dont
take up too much room. Most herbs can be grown in pots. You might even think of starting a
small compost pile somewhere in your garden. This will supply you with fertilizer for your
plants and help you cut back on the amount of waste from your kitchen.