Researchers at a university in Thailand have created sustainable, sturdy bowls made from leaves.
Researchers from Naresuan University in Thailand developed sturdy bowls constructed from leaves and starch that are watertight and biodegradable.
Inspired by the unsightly mound of styrofoam bowls and plates growing near a beautiful temple in northern Thailand, engineering lecturers from the university worked for over a year to produce a product that could replace styrofoam and reduce waste.
Through trial and error, the team discovered that the best leaves to use in the containers were from thong kwao (bastard teak), sak (teak) and sai (banyan) trees, all of which are native to Thailand.
Sirintip Tantanee, the faculty’s dean, has said that the team will work to promote the use of the bowls in nearby areas, especially for the Thai New Year and the food festivals that coincide with Songkran, which will occur in mid-April.
The engineers added starch to serve as a gloss for the bowl to make it more appealing, and the bowl can hold hot water and will degrade naturally after it’s discarded. The bowls even come in a range of shapes to best serve the needs of the food vendors.
Hopefully the bowls will be made available commercially in the future for Thailand and worldwide. As countries begin to crack down on the use of styrofoam, since it is so harmful to the environment and take a minimum of 500 years to degrade, sustainable alternatives for disposable food containers will become necessary. More initiatives to create sustainable products like these should be encouraged and celebrated so that we can be a part of helping the make the world a better place.
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