The Many Uses of the Coconut
Andy Leonardi Liong, of West Leederville, Australia, has put together a marvellous web site all about coir fibre. Liong is the Australian Sales Representative for a company called P.T.Raja Albatros Mas, which harvests and sells raw coir. Liong's website is full of photos depicting the coir harvesting process. Our favourite photo is a shot of thousands (perhaps millions) of drying coconuts, looking awfully a lot like thousands of discarded Pac-Men.
We asked him to desribe his company's customers. Said Liong, "Our customers are from Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and Australia. There are a big range of uses of coconut fibre, Japanese use it as water filter, Malaysia and Singapore can supply enough coir to their customer therefore they import from Indonesia. I have a few queries from U.S., Mexico, Canada, Korea and Nederlands."
We were curious to know what quantity of coir constitutes a customer's typical "order." "Approximately 2000 - 4000 tonnes per year," says Liong. Are there other natural products or synthetic materials that might pose a threat to the coir industry? How is the industry doing? "It's going very well," says Liong, "and it will be growing rapidly once the coconut fibre uses are known more widely. No there are no other agriculture products that compete with coir."
Erosion control -- now, frankly, that's one use of coir we hadn't imagined. Sure enough though, if you think about it, it makes sense. The fibres entangle well with the ground and prevent topsoil from washing away during storms. Here's an article about coir erosion control uses by the US Army. A company called Greenfix America sells a line of coir fiber products to prevent erosion.
COIR DUST -- DUTCH PLANTIN COMPANY sells Sri Lankan coir dust to UK for gardeners looking for a cheap peat moss--- coir dust stores up to 10 times more water...
This link will take you to information on the historical uses of coconuts in Hawaiian culture.
Here's an article on African American Inventors. A gentleman named A.P. ASHBURNE made three coconut-related inventions in the 19th century.
Coir is used to make filters for aquariums.
Coconuts have even been used as a metaphor for conflict in a church sermon.
In Peru, they're using coconuts to fight malaria.
Dried coconut bark was used to ignite coals in camphor censers.
It turns out that coconut shells are useful as "microporous filters" for aquariums. Check out the FAQ on Aquaria Filtration.
plant tanks (incl coconut shell)
Here's a link to university fraternities that mentions a type of hazing where the fraternity initiates have to carry coconuts around!