Coconut Coir utilizes the outer husk (coir) of the coconut to provide a range of economically and environmentally efficient solutions for industry and consumers. Coir is the brown fibrous covering of the coconut. Coir is used in the fiber industry and has other applications such as horticulture, hydroponic applications, pet products, etc. Environmental advantages of Coir:
- Waste from the fabrication of coir based products is bio-degradable.
- Coconut trees do not need to be cut down to attain the coir and coconuts grow year round.
- Coconut trees are easy to grow and do not require chemical assistance.
- The coir end product can be disposed without environmental degradation.
- The majority of coir products can be reused or have secondary uses.
- Coir can be manufactured close to coconut plantations to reduce pollution.
Coir by-products can be utilized as mulch or fertilizer, and is also frequently used in horticulture within greenhouses and for growing mushrooms. Moreover, coir is typically used in floor mats, brushes, mattresses, sacking, brushes, string, rope and even fishing nets due to its resistance to impairment by saltwater.
Virgin coconut oil is harvested from the coconut palm and is removed from the kernel. The process of cold pressing involves mechanically pressing the oil from the coconut meat up to temperatures of 48 degrees Celsius. This is done to retain the health benefits contained within the unrefined and unprocessed coconut oil.
Cold pressed virgin coconut oil is said to assist with weight loss, reducing cardiovascular disease, and providing the body with antimicrobial properties. Due to this, the retail market for virgin coconut oil as well as products it is used in, have grown considerably in popularity. Coconut oil is considered to be a sustainably viable option when considering harvesting practices.
In the long term, coconut oil harvesting is an environmentally friendly practice as coconuts are easily grown. This is because coconut trees can be grown in a number of different soils, including sand. Moreover, they have a harvesting life span of approximately sixty years.
Coconut sugar is sourced from the sap of flower buds of the coconut palm. It has traditionally been used as a sweetener in tropical regions where coconuts are in abundance.
The manufacture process begins with the harvest whereby the blossoms of a coconut tree are ‘tapped’. A cut is made and sap flows from this, being collected in bamboo containers. The sap is then collated and placed over heat in order to evaporate the moisture from the sap. Beginning at 80% water content, the sap transforms into a syrup like consistency called ‘toddy’. Depending on the requirements, the sap will either be left or continue to be reduced until it is in crystal, block or paste form.
Coconut sugar can be said to be better than regular table sugar and high fructose corn syrup as it retains the nutrients found in the coconut palm. Some health benefits can be achieved through consumption of coconut sugar as an alternative to regular varieties as it contains minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium and potassium, as well as some fatty acids, polyphenols antioxidants.
It is for these reasons that coconut sugar has recently gained in popularity immensely.
Coconut meal or coconut flour is made up of the dried, ground and raw flesh of the coconut. Unlike typical flours, coconut meal does not contain grains or nuts, only pure coconut. It has traditionally been developed for baking purposes and to aid in combating malnutrition. Coconut meal is a gluten-free and healthy option.
Coconut meal has the following benefits:
- It is high in fibre.
- It contains protein.
- It has healthy fats.
- It does not contain wheat and other grains.
- It has a low sugar content.
- It is low in digestible carbohydrates and calories.
- It has a low score on the glycemic index.
- It helps support a healthy metabolism.
- Aids in maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.
- Assists digestive health.
Coconut milk is the resulting liquid from the grated meat of a mature, brown coconut. Unlike coconut water, coconut milk gets its colour and taste from the high level of saturated fats and oils. It may be consumed in its raw state or used as an alternative for other milks in food and drink.
Coconut milk contains phosphorus, iron and magnesium, to a significant content. The milk does retain the nutritious benefits of coconuts such as a high fibre content and presence of vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6. However, due to the high oil content, large consumption is not recommended, rather a healthy amount should be included in a persons diet.
Additional applications of coconut milk have seen positive outcomes. It has proven to be of good use within horticulture for encouraging plant growth and resulting in substantial yield improvements. This is due to the presence of cytokinin known as zeatin.
Coconut timber comes from coconut palm trees and is considered a hardwood substitute. Coconut palm trees are often planted in large plantations for coconut harvesting purposes. These trees yield coconuts for approximately 70 years, until they are replaced by future crops. Historically, these felled trees were a wasted by-product of the felling process, however in recent years there has been a commercial launch of coconut timber.
Coconut timber can be utilised for a number of applications such as flooring, posts and furniture. It is a viable and ecologically-sound alternative to conventional and endangered hardwoods. By appearance it is similar to mahogany, however it is a more fibrous grain. Coconut trees also do not have growth rings, rays, heartwood or branches; hence the timber does not contain knots or any other form of imperfection.
The timber can be applied as a structural material or within interior design. High-density coconut timber can be for structural purposes, for example pillars and trusses, or for use in furniture, window and door frames and flooring. Medium-density timber is suitable for walls, and ceiling joists, whilst low-density timber is used for panelling, trim, ceilings and in homewares. Hence, coconut timber is a good source of income.