PHITSANULOK - Concern over the rising use of polluting styrofoam containers has encouraged a research team at Naresuan University to develop a process to make watertight, degradable food bowls from leaves.
Lecturers from the engineering faculty spent more than a year developing the process, finally producing firm, usable bowls from leaves to replace foam containers.
Through trial and error, the team found that leaves of the thong kwao (bastard teak), sak (teak) and sai (banyan) trees are the best to use for the containers.
The bowls can hold hot water without leaking and it will degrade naturally after being discarded.
Sirintip Tantanee, the faculty's dean, said the faculty will coordinate with the municipality to promote the use of these patent-pending bowls at the provincial annual food festivals organised during Sonkran and the New Year.
Samorn Hiranpraditsakul, a lecturer in industrial engineering, said the inspiration to develop these environmentally friendly containers was from a visit to a temple in the North, where she saw the huge piles of polluting styrofoam food containers.
The team used starch to add a gloss to the leaf plates, which will be launched to the public during the Songkran festival in April. They come in a range of shapes.
Members of the Naresuan University team show the range of shapes they have developed along with the process for making watertight food containers from leaves. (Photo by Chinnawat Singha).