Three Local Fibers For Making Banknotes

Forest products researchers have found a way for the Philippines to make its own paper money using locally available plant materials. They have found that quality currency base paper (cbp) can be made by combining the fibers of abaca, salago (Wilkstroemia spp.) and Acacia mangium.



“Fibers from abaca and salago, and wood chips from mangium were cooked, bleached, and formed into sample cbp at the Forest Products Research and Development Institute’s pulp and paper testing laboratory. Results showed that its folding endurance is similar to that of imported currency base paper. It was also found to be tear resistant,” according to Adela S. Torres of the FPRDI’s  laboratory.

Torres observed that “our banknote or paper money is printed on imported cbp made from 20% abaca and 80% cotton. With our promising research result, however, we are planning to team up with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to make Philippine bank notes using 100% locally available fibers.”

Abaca is the strongest plant fiber in the world and is the main raw material in making specialty paper for money. “It is one of the Philippines’ biggest exports, with the country supplying 85% of the total global abaca demand equivalent to 90 metric tons. Despite this huge volume though, the country still imports about 780,000 kilos of currency base papar a year, which the BSP turns into paper money,” Torres said.

Salago, meanwhile is a shrub whose bast fibers are similar to those used in Japan’s specialty papers, while mangium is a fast-growing wood species found in local tree plantations.

The Bangko Sentral ng Filipinas is said to be spending three billion pesos annually to print new banknotes to replace deteriorated or demonetized ones.—Press Rel

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