Palm Oil-Based Paraffin (Bio-Pas) Help to Maintain the Existence of Indonesian Batik
Not only known by rich in natural resources, but Indonesia is also known to have a rich culture that is admired by the global community. One of them is Batik. Even UNESCO has also recognized batik as Indonesian cultural heritage on October 2, 2009, and every year on that date is commemorated National Batik Day.
After the recognition and appreciation from the global community for batik as the nation’s cultural heritage, this also become a challenge, where all Indonesian people have the responsibility to care for and preserve it. One of our efforts to preserve it is to use batik on various occasions, both formal and informal.
This also has implications for the development of the domestic batik industry which shows positive growth. Not only as a cultural heritage, but now the batik industry is also one of the industries that contribute to driving SMEs as the community-based economy.
In line with the development of the batik industry, the demand for raw materials to produce batik is also increasing. One of the main raw materials in making batik, especially batik tulis (hand-drawn batik) and batik cap (stamped batik) is Malam (hot liquid wax). Malam is a special wax for batik that is used to cover certain parts of the fabric so it doesn’t get colored or to protect the pattern in the coloring process.
So far, Malam batik used in the batik industry mostly contains paraffin. The paraffin that is used is derived from petroleum/ crude oil which is classified as a non-renewable resource whose availability is decreasing and may become extinct in the future, not environmentally friendly, and mostly sourced from imports.
The use of raw materials from non-renewable resources is very contradictory to the efforts to preserve batik as a national heritage. In addition, the development of raw materials that are used by industry nowadays is very different from the process of making batik in the 19th century by utilizing local and natural resources from plants. Therefore, to answer the challenge of maintaining an authentic heritage, the raw materials used should come from sustainable, renewable resources and local content or non-imported product.
To obtain raw materials of batik that meet these criteria, we must take advantage of Indonesia’s wealth potential. One source of raw materials that can substitute for petroleum-based paraffin is palm oil. Palm oil is 100% local content produced by communities whose plantations are spread from Sabang to Merauke or in 25 provinces in Indonesia. Besides being local and more eco-friendly because it is sourced from plants, the availability of palm oil is also very abundant considering that Indonesia is the largest palm oil producer in the world.
Tit for tat, researchers from the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT) succeeded in creating a Malam from a palm oil derivative called the Bio-Paraffin Substitute (Bio-Pas). This product utilizes the physical characteristics of stearin, Stearic acid, and Palmitic acid in palm oil which have similar characteristics to petroleum-based paraffin.
Furthermore, through joint research and testing, BPPT and BBKB (Balai Besar Kerajinan dan Batik), Bio-Pas was formulated into Malam batik. The superiority claims of Malam using Bio-Pas in the batik process include being able to be good color retainers, there is no color seepage on the canting tread as well as sharp and bright coloring results because it’s resistant to alkaline and acid solutions due to synthetic dyes.
The use of Bio-Pas on Malam will also produce eco-friendly batik because this product doesn’t emit smoke and evaporate. This product is also a solution to the dependence on imported paraffin used by the domestic batik industry. This will have an impact on reducing Indonesia’s oil and gas deficit.
The use of Malam in the national batik industry is estimated at around 300 thousand tons annually. To meet these needs, around 750 thousand tons of palm oil are needed. With the national production of palm oil (CPO+CPKO) in 2019 which reached 56.54 million tons, it is not difficult to guarantee the availability of raw materials for making Bio-Pas per year. This also shows that the downstream palm oil industry is growing so its domestic absorption continues to increase.
To encourage wider use of research results, the Palm Oil Plantation Fund Management Agency (BPDPKS) together with BPPT held socialization and workshops on the use of Bio-Pas for Malam for Batik MSMEs in various batik production centers, such as Yogyakarta. It is hoped that this activity can encourage the use of innovation results and be accepted by the batik industry (MSMEs) and the market. The implication of the acceptance of this product will also create new business opportunities and jobs in the Malam batik industry so that it will create a bigger “economic cake”.
The use of Bio-Pa is expected to maintain the existence of the Idonesian batik which more eco-friendly, sustainable and renewable. The identity of the Indonesian nation reflected in batik will also be more prominent with the use of palm oil-based paraffin (Bio-Pas).
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