Hessian Products were first exported from Bangladesh in the early 19th century. It was traditionally used as backing for linoleum, rugs and carpet.
Hessian Products are often used to make sacks and bags to ship goods such as coffee beans and rooibos tea; these contrivances are known as gunny sacks. It is breathable and thus resists condensation and associated spoilage of contents. It is also durable enough to withstand rough handling in transit; these properties have also led to its use for temporary protection as wet covering to prevent rapid moisture loss in the setting of cement and concrete in the construction industry. Hessian products are also commonly used to make effective sandbags; hessian sacks filled with sand are often used for flood mitigation in temporary embankments against floodwaters or field fortifications.
Hessian products are also often used for the transportation of unprocessed dry tobacco. This hessian material is used for much the same reasons as it would be used for coffee. Hessian products in the tobacco industry hold up to 200 kg (440lb) of tobacco, and due to hessian’s toughness, a hessian products can have a useful life of up to three years.
Hessian products used to wrap the exposed roots of trees and shrubs when transplanting and also for erosion control on steep slopes.
Owing to its durability, open weave, naturally non-shiny refraction and fuzzy texture, Ghillie suits for 3-D camouflage are often made of hessian products. It was also a popular material for camouflage scrim on combat helmets during World War II. Until the advent of the plastic “leafy” multi-color net system following the Vietnam War, burlap scrim was also woven onto shrimp and fish netting to create large-scale military camouflage netting. During the Great Depression in the U.S., cloth became relatively scarce in the largely agrarian parts of the country.Many farmers used burlap cloth to sew their own clothes. However, prolonged exposure to the material can cause rashes on sensitive skin.
Hessian Products have been used by artists as an alternative to canvas as a stretched painting or working surface. In horror fiction, it is commonly used as a mask and as a mask for victims of beheading.
Hessian Products are often deployed as sandbags as a temporary response to flooding. Because of their Hessian material, they can either be reused or can be composted after use. Agencies like the State Emergency Service in Australia and Technisches Hilfswerk in Germany often deploy sandbags, and these are found in the majority of their emergency response vehicles. Plastic bags have been used as a substitute, but SES units have found hessian bags to be more versatile as they can be used in a variety of rescue applications: as an edge protector for rope rescue operations, for use as padding on slings used in animal rescue or used to dampen and beat out bush-fires.