Researches have estimated that an enormous 15.3 Mn trees are chopped down each year. The timber from these trees is usually used as raw material for the manufacturing industry. However, wood is no longer an essential material to manufacture and produce goods. Coconut husks might be a possible alternative. However, finding alternatives to these centuries-old raw materials has not seen much progress throughout our history. However, that is all set to change by CocoPallet. The company is a start-up in the Netherlands that is making pallets for transport that are looking to change the trend.
They have created pallets by completely redesigning them using fireproof coconut husks that have been recycled. The final product does not have any artificial or inorganic materials. It is also cheaper, lighter, and much more durable than the usual wood. A more exciting fact is the massive number of trees that will be saved. This new use of fireproof coconut husks can save approximately 200 Mn trees from being cut down every year for traditional pallets used for shipping.
The pallets made of fireproof coconut husks were first developed by Wageningen University’s researchers. The technology was then given a commercial shape by CocoPallet’s founder, Michiel Vos.
The First Encounter With Coconut Husks
It has been over 20 years since Jan Van Dam had seen a concept like this. He was a scientist specializing in plants at Wageningen University. At the moment, he was focusing on developing materials out of plant fiber. Then, he had come across a man from Indonesia who had shown him an example of what can be made from fireproof coconut husks.
Van Dam had later said in an interview with a news source in the Netherlands that at first glance, the material appeared the same as a usual hardboard piece. However, the Indonesian man had claimed that the board was not made from trees that were logged. However, they were made from the bark of coconut, which was the shell on the outside of the coconut fruit. He was amazed that a board that was hard as a rock and had the same characteristics as wood could be made from coconut husks. It was a new concept for Van Dam.
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He also explained how needed such a product that is made from recycling is. It is especially important for places such as Asia where there is abundant waste from coconuts. He says that he saw enormous potential in the item. In Asia, a huge amount of coconuts are harvested which results in an enormous pile of coconuts husks that are wasted. In several countries in the tropics, this waste just rots away at roadsides or burnt. However, using them as raw materials can solve several problems in one go – deforestation will be lessened, farmers will get a bonus income, and you also help with climate change and reducing pollution.
CocoPallet Finally Brings The Idea Alive
However, in the Philippines, Van Dam’s efforts to manufacture pallets from coconut husks did not bear fruit. He explains that there were several circumstances in the locality like a lack of power that stopped it.
Fortunately, Michiel Vos came to Van Dam asking about wood alternatives. Vos said that Van Dam was his last destination. He advised him to look at coconut husks as they had both the adhesive and the materials together. Moreover, it is plentiful in Asia. He was left stunned.
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The technology worked perfectly for making pallets, especially for Asia. Vos explains that Asia over one billion pallets annually. The softwood required to make them is usually imported on a huge scale from other countries which are then shipped to Europe or America. So efficiency was much more if they were made in Asia. Their advantages include being stronger, lighter, fireproof, cheaper, and a new design that makes it easily stackable.
This is undoubtedly the best of innovation! Highest praised for CocoPallet.