It is likely that those who were children in the nineties would have seen goods composed of a brown, fibrous material around their homes – most often gunny bags for food supplies, rugs, and cords. This material is known as “Coir.” Making use of coir has apparently become popular since the 1100s AD. It has allegedly been employed for use in rigging and sailboats. Lately, the decline of Industrialization has caused a decrease in this development over the last few decades. An entirely different space for cost-effective, ‘SUSTAINABLE/GREEN’ commodities is now available around the world, and coco coir items are capable of finding their specific place within this market.
In this blog, we offer a variety of details about this renewable resource, such as its definition, how it is processed, what it is used for, and the like. This will undoubtedly be of use and will direct you to an inexpensive and environmental friendly material.
What is Coir?
According to the definition of coir, “coir” is a rigid, rough fiber derived from the outer shell of a coconut. It is also referred to as ‘Katha’ (Gujarati), ‘Kayar’ (Hindi, Malayalam), ‘tennai’ (Tamil), and so on.
Coir Manufacturing: Traditional & Mechanical Method
Coconuts are used to make coir, which is produced from the fibrous husks that are left behind after the liquid and white flesh of the coconut has been enjoyed. First, the fibers from the coconuts are dried and collected. These fibres can be extracted traditionally and mechanically.
The customary process of making coir requires that fibers be extracted from the seed, then immersed in salty water for anywhere between three to twelve months, depending on the final product’s necessities. They are then battered, trailed by teasing, cleansing, and air drying to soften the strands.
The defibering machine can be used to separate and remove the husk from the rest of the material five days after the retting procedure. Subsequently, the strands are classified based on their length in rotating drums.
The fibres are then taken to be spun into yarn and created into a product. The ideal type of fibre for spinning into light-colored thread comes from seeds that are between 10 and 12 months old. The remaining material from it is referred to as pith and is employed in horticulture. When its lifespan is up, this material can be easily broken down by the soil.
It can be easily obtained and it is very inexpensive. This beneficial bundle gives it a greater advantage compared to other items from the same group. Gaining a full comprehension of the complete lifespan of this item grants us better comprehension of how small a carbon footprint it uses, making it the perfect choice to promote as an “eco-friendly” product. Production of coir can be easily reproduced in areas where there is a plentiful supply of coconut plants or their by-products. Ultimately, it is a highly profitable business venture for small and medium enterprises and cottage industries, creating jobs for more local folks. We have written about a variety of eco-friendly products and construction materials which can be great options for constructing your home. Besides coir, of course.
Coir Products & Its Uses
Coconut fibre products are also known as coir products. They offer a variety of forms in stores, such as cord, yarn, cloth, panels and other applicable items, which make it a very multifaceted product. They can be purchased in both unfinished and ready-to-use forms. A broad range of coconut fibre products are available and are discussed below:
Use of Coir Products in Interiors
Coconut FibrePly / High-Density Board / Wood
Coir ply, comparable to regular ply, is created by having an alternate coir layer pressed together with resins in a hydraulic press. Sheets of 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 16, 8, 20, and 25 millimeters in thickness are offered. It is used in lieu of plywood for constructing cabinets and other items of furniture for the home.
Sound-absorbing panels are typically constructed using several layers of coir fibre. By adding porous plates to the panels, sound absorption is improved. It can be easily adapted to provide ideal sound dampening characteristics. It is available as wall tile and ceiling panels.
Coir Mats or Coir Rugs
It is a product obtained from weaving coir yarns. A variety of mats and rugs is constructed by weaving the yarn in different compositions and finishes. There is a wide selection of different sizes for these items, from a small coaster to large doormats, table mats, yoga mats, and full-room rugs. Its shade varies from a single tone to a selection of natural colors. One has the ability to tailor their selection in terms of size, finish and colors to best meet the user’s needs. Doormats made of coir can prove to be useful during the rainy season because they are able to absorb moisture and dirt with ease. It can be used to create a decorative element on walls.
Use of Coir Products in Architecture
Coir Rope or Coir Yarn
It is typically employed to attach bamboo or casuarina poles together in order to form scaffolding. Additionally, while the building is being constructed, the doors and windows are temporarily secured with coconut rope. Historically, it has been utilized in clay-based building as support. Researchers are trying to substitute steel for conventional concrete construction and they are studying how to make the material light by using coir. It is said that the Construction Planning & Works Department’s guidelines for Sustainable Homes from 2014 deem it to be highly energy-effective, due to its extremely low energy consumption. It has very high tensile strength. It has a low capacity for transferring heat, making it an effective cooling agent.
Natural Fibre Reinforced Panel (NFRP)
This is an alternative to High-Density Board that uses a combination of jute and coir fibres held together under strong pressure with resin. Doors and partitions can be made from this.
The insulation panels are fabricated by combining ordinary Portland cement, lime, fly ash, and coir fibre. These fixtures are mounted to the wall with screws and maintain a space between them and the wall, which helps keep the environment inside cool in harsh weather conditions.
Composite Panel Cladding
The panel is created through the hot pressing of various components derived from coconut husk and shells. Different designs can be printed on the panels, and they are also water-resistant. A thorough investigation is being conducted to comprehend their added features.
Using Coir in Gardening
What Is Coir Fiber & What’s In It?
Three components make up coconut coir for potting and coco gardening use:
- Coconut Coir Fiber
- Pith (aka: Peat)
The amalgamation of these three components yields a superior growing medium. It is necessary to achieve the correct combination of these three elements for it to be suitable for your purpose. The composition of the soil medium and its chemical elements should be taken into account. Separately, these elements convey individual benefits. Here is an exploration of these benefits.
Coco Coir Fiber
Incorporating coconut fiber into your soil or planting substrate can create air pockets. The fiber does not have a high capacity for absorbency, making it effective for providing oxygen to the plant’s roots. The issue with these fibers made of cellulose is that they can degrade quickly, causing the air pockets to dissipate.
Coconut chips in soil behave similarly to clay pellets, but this natural, vegetative matter will break down over time. They offer two advantages because they can take in and keep water successfully and help form air bubbles.
Thus, they possess the characteristics of both pith and fiber. Their measurements resemble those of coconut fiber and they are capable of raising the capacity of the soil to contain air and water. This section of coconut coir contains the most air in comparison to the amount of water.
Coco Pith (Peat)
Coir pith or coir peat is the absorbent element of the coir fiber. It looks like an accumulation of tea particles, and it can retain a large amount of liquid. The particles of the material are extremely tiny and lightweight, meaning that it is incapable of containing considerable quantities of air.
This element of coco coir has a wood-like consistency and is very resistant to decomposition. When aged correctly, pith holds sodium and potassium. In the case of coco pith fertilization, calcium is used in lieu of potassium and sodium.
You should acquire coco pith coir that has been aged for at least four months. This permits an excess of salts and potassium to be moved out of the way and calcium, which is important for plant growth, will remain in the ground.
How Is Coco Coir Better Than Peat Moss?
Choosing coco coir for garden and potting purposes is a wise decision; peat moss has no application in hydroponic systems. The primary benefit of selecting coir is that it can be replenished easily. Opting for coco coir instead of peat can prevent the devastation of environmentally sensitive peat swamps.
The origin of peat moss is accumulated dead plants which have been breaking down in waterlogged earth for years. A peat bog can be ruined in a span of weeks, with no possibility of restoration for multiple generations.
The fiber that is obtained as a result of coconut collection is environmentally friendly and sustainable. Coconut trees produce a new crop annually. In the past, coir was discarded and ended up in the landfill. Employing it in your garden stops it from occupying room in the landfill, where it may take longer than one hundred years to decompose.
The benefits of using neutral Coco coir in comparison to peat moss is notable due to its pH level. It is inviting to more types of plants and can be enriched with nourishment more easily. More fruits and veggies prefer more alkaline soil. When first using coconut coir as a medium for cultivation, there is no need to supplement it with lime to get the desired outcome.
Coconut Coir Benefits & Downsides
There are both pros and cons to employing coconut coir for gardening.
Benefits Of Coconut Coir Products
- This fibrous material is low-acid with a pH range of 5.8-6.8 (as compared with peat, which ranges between 3.5 and 4.5).
- When dry and ready to use, it soaks up water eagerly, so it helps plants recover quickly from dry conditions and makes good use of available water.
- Absorbs ten times its weight in water, so it keeps roots well hydrated and provides an excellent growing medium for healthy development of roots.
- Coir is not pest friendly. Creepy-crawlies generally dislike coming in contact with it, so it makes a good addition to your natural pest control arsenal.
- As a re-purposed waste product, coir is a sustainable and environmentally friendly resource.
- May provide some protection against root diseases such as pythium.
- Coir conveys excellent air porosity to soil even when wet.
- Because coir is sterile, it is a very good seed starting medium.
- Coir decomposes slowly, so it lasts for a long time in soil.
- It improves water retention in soils that drain too quickly.
- Coir is free of bacteria and weed seeds.