25 March 2006

Coco Net.

Coco fiberIn 1995, Philippine inventor Justino Arboleda devised a method to turn coconut husks into useful fiber. In the Bicol region of the Philippines where he lived and worked, most farmers live below the poverty line and discarded coconut husks are the largest waste product. Arboleda set up a factory to mill the fibers and employed local workers to weave the fiber into netting. The nets replace plastic and steel one on slopes and riverbanks to prevent erosion. Arboleda even found a way to use the dust created by the milling process to create a fertile, soil-like “coco-peat.”

Coconets is the winner of the 2005 BBC World Challenge, which lists other interesting environmentally friendly inventions and business initiatives. (Sponsored by Shell Oil!)

Update 3/26: Evan responds:
“I know in India they have been turning coconut husks in to rope and other fibers for a few thousand years... It takes a Development Bank to take traditional products, ignore the history, and create them again as an amazing new revolutionary product!”