Jute is fibrous material taken from the stems of plants mostly of the Corchorus genus, which grows in sub tropical climates. Dundee was the world centre for converting jute into sacking, rope, twine, flooring and multiple other uses. All that remains of Scotland’s connection to jute is linoleum production in Fife by Forbo Nairn which I believe still uses jute as part of its foundation material.

Many of Dundee’s excellent but redundant machines, however, were transported to the Hooghly mills of West Bengal in NE India. James Simpson of Simpson and Brown architects, in a talk at The Nomads Tent in 2017, that 120 years later these examples of British industrial engineering are still going strong in what he described as Dickensian looking factories. But jute is a natural material and perhaps helpful in addressing the terrible pollution caused by its alternative, polypropylene.

Jute sacks on farms lasted a long time and would then rot down into the land, naturally. Polypropylene sacking and all its variations is mostly used once and recycling is more or less impossible. We have asked our suppliers to stop or limit supplying goods to us using this material.

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