As demand for paper rises, DOST looks at other sources
MANILA, Philippines - As the demand for paper products - particularly paper bags - increases, researchers at the Department of Science and Technology are looking for alternative raw materials to produce paper pulp.
As an "eco-friendly" move, more local governments are ordering the use of paper bags instead of plastics in establishments. The DOST said 27 local governments are now implementing regulations over use of plastic bags.
"The greater use of paper packaging is in line with our current initiatives that protect the environment and uplift the ecosystem," Science Secretary Mario Montejo said in a statement.
With this in mind, the department's Forest Product Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) is looking for better ways of producing paper-based packaging.
Currently, the FPRDI has several completed and ongoing studies on alternative raw materials for paper production, from other plant fibers (such as abaca and banana), palm fruit bunch fibers, and other sources.
In addition, the agency is working with the Institute of Plant Breeding at UP Los Baños in studying hybrid abaca as a reinforcement fiber for paper products.
"Increased demand for pulp and paper means more challenges for the industry and for DOST-FPRDI as well," according to Aimee Beatrix Habon, one of the researchers at the agency. - Rappler.com