The Australian sugar industry is beginning to use bagasse, the cane fibre left after milling, for things other than fuel for the mill boilers. The Proserpine Co-operative Sugar Milling Association last year began adding it to mill mud and boiler ash and composting it, with the resultant product going to Qatar in the Persian Gulf where the Government is attempting to green the desert.
And next crushing season the Mill will commission its long awaited Furfural plant, which will extract the plant resin or furfural from the bagasse and then return it to the conveyor to be used either to fire the boiler or make compost.
However the use of bagasse to manufacture paper, which would seem to be a logical application for the by-product, has always alluded the industry in Australia. Its fibres are so short there is no strength in the paper and there is no easily obtained and cheap, long strand fibre available to reinforce it.
However that is not the case in other countries as bagasse based paper is produced in South Africa, India and China, where it finds a ready market as toilet tissue and hand towels because it is softer than similar products made from forest pulp.