Loofah for packaging

Published: Tuesday 15 March 1994

-- YOU thought loofahs were just for scrubbing in the bath? Well, an Italian firm has come up with a new role for the fibrous skeleton of the gourd-like Luffa cylindrica. It can be a non-toxic and inexpensive substitute for polyurethane foam packing materials and polystyrene. And, expensive petroleum is not required to manufacture it.

The Italian project found that the dried fruits of the plant, which requires only a patch of dry, rocky soil to thrive, are about 90 per cent cellulose, compressible to a 20th part of their initial volume and wholly biodegradable.

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