Fire Resistant Coconut Husks Can Replace Wood and Save Millions of Trees

The trees on our planet are our oxygen that we need every day to breathe in, but due to the rapid deforestation the count of trees is drastically decreased. As a result of that the air pollution is getting higher and higher every day. We still use wood in many aspects of our living and one of them is transportation pallets.

Fortunately this will be a history thanks to the invention of a Dutch company, the CocoPallet. This company produces transportation pallets from coconut husks that are 100% organic not polluting the environment. Plus, the material used for these pallets is being recycled from a waste product. These pallets are more practical and durable than the wooden ones, and not to mention the fact that by their production around 200 million trees are being saved from being cut down every year.

The History of CocoPallets

Jan Van Dam is a plant scientist at Wageningen University who 20 years ago was developing materials out of plant fiber. The idea came to him when an Indonesian man entered his college office and showed him something that looked like hardboard. It was not made out of wood but of coconut bark, the outer shell of the coconut. Once he saw it he realized that this is the best recyclable product for Asian countries where coconut waste is present in abundance. The production of coconuts in Asia is huge leaving an enormous pile of wasted coconut husk that are commonly put aside to rot by the side of the road or set on fire.

Van Dam saw in this product huge potential seeing the enormous benefits such product can bring to the environment. Those benefits would be stopping the deforestation, preventing the pile-up of coconut husks to rot thus contributing to pollution and climate change, and in addition to all this the farmers will receive an extra income.

He developed the technique to make pallets out of coconut shells and attempted to launch his manufacture in the Philippines, but his efforts were futile as there was no sufficient power supply. However, nothing was lost as after several years, Michiel Vos asked Van Dam for advice about alternatives to wood and he gave his amazing idea. The technology of Van Dam was further developed by the researchers at Wageningen University and thus created the CocoPallets out of coconut husk with exquisite quality having equal finesse and sturdiness.

Yet, the founder of CocoPallet, Michiel Vos, was the one who commercialized them and made them available for the rest of the world.

The Benefits and Use of CocoPallets

The cocopallets are economical, pest-repellent, water-resistant and excellent eco-products as they are biodegradable. Their use will prevent the cutting of around 200 million trees per year in the Netherlands. They are fire retardant, cheaper and sustainable, plus stronger and lighter than the conventionally used pallets. These pallets stack up nicely taking up less space.

Vos chose Asia for the production of these pallets as the local materials are there in abundance. Namely, there are being harvested 74 billion coconuts per year and the company is taking advantage of unused husks that are later on made into export pallets.

In Asia, are being manufactured more than a billion pallets every year, and they are very popular among Asian exporters. For their production the company needs softwood that is being imported from Canada, New Zealand or Eastern Europe. The final products are being shipped back to America or Europe.

The production of the company takes place in Sumatra, Indonesia using the material from the local plantations thus removing the transport cost and creating extra income for local farmers.

Vos plans in future to expand his production and use the coconut waste of other Asian countries in an eco-friendly way thereby saving millions of trees and recycling plenty of waste.