Thailand: Turning straw into gold

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

Rather than burning the leftover plant stems, or leaving them to rot (which produces methane), Jaruwan believes they can be used as a valuable resource. In the Fang Thai factory, they are processed into pulp — without adding chemicals.

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 that makes the products impervious to liquids for several hours, and therefore 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.

A film by Christian Uhlig



07:35 Minutes


Global Ideas

The television reports and documentaries of Deutsche Welle's 'Global Ideas' media project provide people all over the world with information on model projects which implement biodiversity and climate protection. The media project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through the International Climate Initiative.