Nothing goes to waste in this Abra furniture shop
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—At the Balbin furniture store in Bangued town, the Abra capital, nothing goes to waste.
Wood debris can be turned into wood tiles used to make chairs, stools and tables. Sawdust becomes activated charcoal, which is an effective industrial and medical absorbent agent.
Recently, the furniture store found that a liquid byproduct from the manufacture of activated charcoal also works as a disinfectant.
Balbin’s disinfectant was presented at a recent forum hosted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). It was perfected by the late Romeo Balbin who started a furniture shop in 1986 as well as the export of bamboo handicraft in the 1990s, according to his son Robert. Balbin died last year at 64.
Activated charcoal serves as deodorizer, which is “popular among more affluent families,” said Robert. It was the family’s first alternate commodity in 2011, to profit from the dust piling at their work space.
But the elder Balbin saw liquid left behind in producing activated charcoal.
“He got samples and brought them to the DOST and the University of the Philippines Los Baños,” Robert said.
“The test results showed that the liquid, called ’liquid smoke,’ can be used as a disinfectant, an antiseptic and an insect repellant.”
Balbin developed a system for harvesting the liquid using bamboos. Their biggest client now is the Vigan City government, which uses the disinfectant to clean the city plaza where horse-drawn calesa (carriages) are parked. The disinfectant helps remove the smell of horses there.
Balbin’s Furniture also supplies a pet shop in Makati City with the liquid. Its owner uses it as an antiseptic for animal wounds as well as cleaner.
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