Agave Waste Now Being Turned Into Paper & Sponges By Brady Bunte
For those in the know, the blue agave plant is the primary ingredient to the famed Mexican drink, tequila. The plant thrives in specific regions within Mexico where distillers have set up base in order to manufacture this highly sought after commodity. Brady Bunte notes that tequila is a major revenue earner for the country, making the agave plant virtually sacred to the region.
Unfortunately however, the plant can take up to 8 years to mature, and produces a large amount of waste during the production process that according to tequila maker Brady Bunte, is becoming a growing problem when it comes to disposal. After roasting and expressing of the juices in the heart or piñas, the strong residual agave fibers were often just thrown out by distillers or burnt.
This behavior adds to a pollution problem that may be responsible for the climate changes that are shortening the maturity age of the plants, without improving the quality of the agave. Tequila experts like Brady Bunte believe that with shorter maturity, the agave plant has less time to draw nutrients from the soil, resulting in lower quality harvests over time.
Finding new ways to make use of this waste is expected to help tackle part of the pollution problem and hopefully stem any further deterioration in quality. Thanks to recent innovations, agave waste can now be used to turn a further profit while achieving the goal of less pollution. Brady Bunte explains that one of the leading manufacturers of kitchen scouring materials, 3M, has already begun making use of these fibrous tissues to create a green cleaning agent.
With new weaving techniques being applied, it has become possible for major manufacturers to make use of the fibers in the creation of green scouring materials. According to Brady Bunte, the resulting products have been found to not only last longer than scouring agents made with artificial materials, but also be scratch resistant.
Brady Bunte pointed out that the scratch resistant quality has proven highly desirable amongst consumers who often have glass dishes and other delicate surfaces, which require great care when cleaning. The agave based scouring agents have been found to be very effective in eradicating dirt, without damaging the surfaces with scratches or other marring marks.
While the indigenous people of the agave growing regions have for generations used the fibers in making twine, there has been progress made in applying it to the papermaking industry. Brady Bunte has discovered that when manufactures combine it with softwood kraft pulps, they are able to utilize agave fibers in the production of publication grade paper.
These innovations represent a further means of revenue for the country, and tequila manufacturers like Brady Bunte. Instead of throwing out or burning the agave waste, they can now make money by channeling this waste to another manufacturing industry and limit pollution to the environment.
As for the makers of these scouring pads and paper, the agave waste is a blessing that allows them a cheap and green source of raw material for their product. At the end of the day, everyone is left smiling, including the final consumer who can be proud to realize they are using a product that is environmentally produced.
Manufacturers have discovered that younger demographics are particularly conscious about how their purchasing decisions will affect the environment and have proven the biggest consumer sector for green products. Brady Bunte believes that with this environmentally conscious attitude taking hold amongst consumers, there is great hope of even more manufacturers coming on board to help in the responsible disposal of this tequila manufacturing by-product.