Oxygen is one of the most abundant elements in the entire Universe. It’s the element that maintains the life on our planet. The trees are the primary source that produces oxygen, and this is the reason why the forests are very important for each living being. But, we are also familiar with the fact that wood can be used as raw material mainly for manufacturing. Around 15.3 billion trees are cut down annually, and if this devastating process continues in the future, it is inevitably to do severe harm and destroy our environment. The Dutch company called CocoPallet is about to change this trend by manufacturing transport pallets from recycled coconut husks. The final product is lighter and cheaper than wood, it’s durable and 100% organic. The researchers originally developed this idea at Wageningen University, and the technology was applied by the founder of CocoPallet, Michiel Vos.
The scientist Jan Van Dan who works at Wageningen University shared a story for the Dutch news source ‘de Volkskrant.’ He told about an Indonesian man who showed him a regular piece of hardboard that was not made out of logged trees but wholly made out of the outer shell of the coconut.
‘A wood-like board material made of coconut husk? It’s something new to me,’ said Van Dam.
He also explained the necessity of this recyclable product, especially in the places where the coconut waste can be found in enormous amounts.
‘Asia is the place where enormous amounts of coconuts are produced, and the coconut waste is left to rot away, or it is set on fire. So, if we make raw materials out of the husk, we are going to have many benefits, and at the same time, we are going to prevent many problems. First, we stop deforestation because there is no need for more wood to be cut away. Second, the farmers will receive extra income for their coconut waste. And finally, we reduce pollution and climate change because, by these actions, we prevent the material from slowly rotting away,’ said Van Dam.
Van Dam tried to make pallets out of coconut shells in the Philippines, but unfortunately, his attempt led to failure because there was no sufficient power supply. Some years later, the founder of CocoPallet, Michiel Vos, had a meeting with Van Dam. Then he asked him for advice about alternatives to wood.
‘He shared a surprisingly strange idea with me. Why don’t you use the outer shell of the coconut? It can replace the wood, and what’s really important, it can be found anywhere in Asia almost for free. I was astonished when I heard this,’ said Vos.
More than a million pallets are produced in Asia in a period of one year. They require softwood, which can’t be found in the tropic areas. As a result of this, intact forests are being shipped to Asia from countries like Canada, Eastern Europe, or New Zealand.
‘It is easier and more efficient if these pallets are made in Asia with local materials,’ added Vos.
The advantages of coconut pallets are of great importance because they are lighter and stronger than the other pallets, and their price is affordable. CocoPallets are the alternative that is going to save millions of trees by using this coconut waste and transform it into a sustainable product.