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Turning Rice Straw Waste into Gold in Northern Thailand



In the northern province of Lampang Jaruwan Khammuang is turning rice harvest straw waste into gold. The young entrepreneur saw an opportunity to create green products from rice harvest waste. Such as bio degradable, Eco friendly tableware.

Entrepreneur Jaruwan Khammuang decided to return home to her village in Lampang after studying in Bangkok. She wants to put an end to the process of burning rice straw after the harvest. Which consequently produces haze and contributes to pollution, including CO2 emissions.

Rather than burning the leftover rice stems, or leaving them to rot (which produces methane), Jaruwan believes they can be used as a valuable resource.

In the Fang Thai factory, straw waste is processed into pulp — without adding chemicals, Deutsche Welle reports.

The technique can be used to produce rice paper and disposable tableware that is completely biodegradable. In cooperation with the University of Chiang Mai, a type of coating made from rice starch was created. The starch also makes the products impervious to liquids for several hours. Above all they are a sustainable alternative to plastic and polystyrene packaging.

The 31-year-old entrepreneur’s factory has also created jobs for rice farmers who were previously unemployed after the harvest.

The Fang Thai Factory Project goal:

The small Fang Thai factory is exploring green alternatives to the treatment of agricultural waste products. The SEED initiative promotes small companies that save greenhouse gases with sustainable solutions. That create job opportunities and contribute to economic development as green and social companies.

Project scope:

Fang Thai is one of six winners of the SEED Low Carbon Awards 2019. The winners also receive financial support; benefit from national; and international advertising opportunities and get help refining their business models.

Project funding:

Between 2013 and 2022, a total of €7,340,437 is also available for the SEED Low Carbon Awards. The Fang Thai Factory rice straw project was most noteworthy funded with €10,000.

Project partner:

The SEED Low Carbon Award is funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Environment Ministry.

Turning straw waste into gold

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