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Fire Resistant Coconut Husks Can Replace Wood And Save Millions Of Trees


Fire Resistant Coconut Husks Can Replace Wood And Save Millions Of Trees

The world needs this.

Wood is not essential for manufacturing, but by far, 15.3 billion trees are annually cut down to fulfill production requirements by manufacturers across the world. Not to mention that many are involved in illegal logging and are not accounted for.

Dutch start-up CocoPallet wants to change the status quo that has remained the same for decades. Despite the world’s scream to save the forests that literally allows us to breathe oxygen, research has been slow.

CocoPallet builds and sells transport pallets that are completely made out of coconut husks – the outer layer of a fruit that is often thrown away due to lack of usage, or so people used to think. The result is a lightweight product that is also more durable and even fire-resistant.

If this trend continues to blow up, at least 200 million of trees can be saved every year. It’s a small number compared to 15 billion – about 0.01%, but it’s a start.

This product was made by researchers from Wageningen University. The finished product was commercialized by the owner of the company later, Michiel Vos.

Scientist Jan Van Dam from Wageningen University first witnessed the amazing characteristics of coconut husks in Indonesia. A man brought it a wooden-board like material but surprised him by saying it’s coconut husk, the outer layer of fruit.

“I saw a huge potential here. Mainly in Asia, enormous amounts of coconuts are produced, which leads to a huge pile of wasted coconut husk. In many tropical countries, the coconut waste is rotting away by the side of the road or is set on fire.

“If you make raw materials out of the husk, you will hit several birds with one stone: you prevent deforestation, because less wood will be produced, you give the farmers an extra income, because their waste is worth money, and you prevent the material from slowly rotting away, reducing pollution and climate change,” says the excited scientist.

He became the perfect match with Vos years later after his failed attempt in the Philippines. Indonesia produces a billion pallets that require them importing softwood and then exporting the finished products back. But with CocoPallets, the market can experience a great change, reducing the cost needed to manufacture these pallets.

They are lighter, more durable, fire-retardant with adjusted design and easier to stack. What’s more, they are much more affordable, a strong argument that can easily convince the market to change to this more sustainable product!

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