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The Material Behind Burlap

How do they make burlap, and what’s in it?

Burlap is the coarse material usually woven from the fibers of jute plants, although sometimes manufacturers use the fibers from flax or hemp plants to make burlap as well. Burlap has an earthy beige color, and most manufacturers don’t dye it. Since the fiber comes from the tough stems of these plants, burlap is a much tougher material that has always been popular to use for bags, satchels or even as decorations and party favors to give a warm, country sense of style to any occasion.

Burlap’s composition makes it one of nature’s most eco-friendly fabrics.

Burlap is an Eco-Friendly Fabric

Anyone concerned about minimizing their impact on the environment will love burlap for several reasons. First, the plants harvested to make jute fibers grow to maturity in just six months or less without requiring any fertilizers or pesticides to protect and nourish the crops. That means almost all jute crops used in burlap making are organic due to the nature of the jute-growing industry! In Asian countries experiencing a monsoon season of heavy rains, these plants receive all the water they need from nature alone, so buying burlap supports a more responsible and sustainable farming system too.

Secondly, because burlap consists of totally natural, unrefined plant fibers such as jute, it’s a 100 percent biodegradable material that recycles completely back into the soil with no waste. Gardeners love how burlap easily starts decomposing within a compost pile after only one month.

Third, jute is virtually a no-waste crop to produce. Any pieces of jute stalks left after the growers extract the fibers for burlap become firewood for the local community.

Fourth, jute plants nourish the soil they grow in. Farmers love jute because using jute crops as part of their crop rotation replenishes the ground with valuable macronutrients that keep the soil fertile.

Best of all, the practice of growing jute crops alone is extremely beneficial for purifying the Earth’s atmosphere. Some sources have found that jute plants can absorb up to three times as much carbon dioxide from the air than most trees, giving us a greater supply of oxygen while cleaning the air we breathe.

Some plant sources of burlap fibers also double as food sources!

Burlap made from flax plants, which grow more in cooler climates, has additional benefits because the flax plant provides more than lots of fiber for making burlap. Its seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, making it a great nutritional resource too. Similarly, farmers also harvest seeds as well as fibers from hemp plants too since hemp seeds naturally contain all 20 known amino acids.

The building blocks of burlap make it a tough fabric.

Burlap’s fibers are thicker and stronger than those of almost any other fabric-like material. That’s why burlap is an excellent choice for sacks and bags that you need for carrying a heavy load. Burlap bags are therefore a great eco-friendly alternative to plastic grocery bags when you go shopping.

Burlap makes a great, natural gift wrap.

Burlap Gift Wrap

Another excellent use for burlap bags is to use them to package young plants or tree saplings as gifts for your friends and family. Not only do they look lovely, but they’re also very handy for holding the soil in place around any plants with fragile roots when transplanting. Many gardeners recommend planting young saplings by burying the burlap bags right into the soil with the young sapling. Burlap wraps well around root balls because it lets the roots receive water and air while hold the soil around the roots together. Then as the plant grows, the burlap will naturally decompose into the surrounding soil after the young roots have grown strong enough to thrive well on their own.

Whenever you buy burlap, you’re getting an affordable material that’s environmentally friendly, durable and highly versatile.

See our Burlap Options


  1. Jelina January 18, 2020

    So educational to know where burlap comes from. And so good for environment thank God amen

  2. Amy Winters August 31, 2018

    Thanks for pointing out that burlap is an environmentally friendly product since jute is a no-waste crop. I’ve been trying to be a smart shopper and buy products that are produced in a mindful way. My husband and I have been shopping for erosion control nets, and I think getting a jute net would be a great way to support the environment.

  3. Rainbow May 19, 2018

    Thanks for sharing with us!!!

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