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agave plant A new source of paper.

Agave waste eyed as source of cellulose

Study analyzes the possibility of turning it into artisanal paper

Producing tequila and mezcal is a wasteful process: 500,000 tonnes of agave fiber are discarded annually in the production of the two beverages.

But a project funded by Conafor, the National Forestry Commission, is studying the prospects for turning that waste into paper and cardboard.

The Yucatán Center for Scientific Research (CICY) has developed a process that achieves that conversion and believes that producers of tequila and mezcal could benefit.

Project head Gonzalo Canché Escamilla says 180,000 tonnes of the total waste material could be used to extract cellulose, and then paper.

“All if it contains high levels of cellulose, the principal source of paper . . . . “ said Canché, who explained that through a pulping process the unwanted components are removed from the fiber, leaving only the cellulose behind.

The process would result in an artisanal paper whose fabrication would fit well with the operations of many small producers of tequila and mezcal, he said.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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