Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tasty fruit and vegetable straws replace plastic



Tasty fruit and vegetable straws replace plastic

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Straws made from rice, cassava, and corn to reduce plastic use. SUPPLIED

Tasty fruit and vegetable straws replace plastic

Minister of Environment Say Samal praised a Cambodian enterprise that makes straws from rice and vegetable matter rather than plastic, which he said is overused around the world.

“We did it! We made water straws from rice flour. We can stop using plastic straws now,” he said in a recent social media post, along with some photos of the colourful straws.

The straws are available in many different colours and are made from natural substances such as rice, corn, potatoes and pandan leaves, according to Tith Sokhom, the owner of the enterprise, TK&D Manufacturing.

Sokhom, 40, told The Post: “I began to think about the production of straws from cereals to help reduce the amount of plastic used in Cambodia, and to create employment for young people.”

The enterprise was inaugurated last September, and is the first of its kind in the Kingdom.

After seeing environmentally friendly products being produced in other countries, the entrepreneur began to wonder if Cambodia could do something to reduce its use of plastic. After thinking about it for some time, she and her husband launched their business.

TK & D produces straws made from rice flour, which is mixed with other products using imported machinery.

“We produce a wide variety of products, and each has a slightly different taste, depending on the source material,” said Sokhom

As a supporter of the products, Chien Sotheara tries to use them as often as possible.

“They are very efficient and last for long enough to drink a large drink,” Sotheara, who works for the General Department of Taxation, told The Post.

“It both reduces the use of plastics and promotes the use of local raw materials, which are both admirable goals,” he said.

Sotheara said that after drinking water with the straw, he usually ate it. They are as crisp as a wafer cake, and taste delicious.

Although the straws are made from rice flour, you can use them without worrying that they will dissolve.

“With cold drinks, they last a long time. After an hour, they become soft, like pasta. They last nearly as long with hot drinks,” said Sokhom.

She said that after finish your drink you can eat the straw. If you don’t want to do that, you can throw it away and it will break down into dust very quickly.

She explained that rice flour is the main ingredient in the manufacture of the straws. It is blended with other products to obtain different colours. The colours are not achieved with chemicals, but with agricultural products.

“If you want green, the rice flour is mixed with pandan leaves. If you want yellow, it’s mixed with mango powder. All of the ingredients are natural,” she said.

After the paste is mixed, a machine squeezes it into long straws and then cuts them to length.

“Currently, we create many flavours and colours, using corn, pandan leaves, carrots and potatoes. We are in the process of devising new flavours,” said Sokhom.

The owner of the enterprise, which employs more than 100 villagers in Krakor district, Pursat province, said that TK&D can produce more than 100 boxes of straws per day. The company is gradually expanding into new markets, including Makro Supermarkets and Sna Dai Me Market.

“The Ministry of environment would like to commend the companies that produce paper cups and straws made from natural materials. These kinds of “bio-plastic” products are easily soluble and do not harm the environment. The use of these items is a win-win for consumers,” said Neth Pheaktra, spokesman for the ministry.

He said that people are now more aware of the environmental costs of using plastic products and have changed their behaviour. Many people have turned to the use of environmentally friendly bags and baskets and reusable water bottles. Many restaurants have implemented zero-plastic principles, as have some schools.

“We urge people to change their attitudes, reduce their consumption of plastics and choose natural products. For example, disposable products like plastic straws should be replaced by ones made of paper, bamboo or lemongrass,” he said.

Sokhom acknowledged that her business did not yet have a large share of the market, as it only began trading at the beginning of 2022.

These are not the first environmentally friendly straws to be sold in Cambodia, but the others are all imported.

Because the demand for these kinds of products is not yet as high as it should be, the market is not yet large, meaning low supply volumes, which makes finding these products seem difficult.

TK&D rice, potatoe, corn or carrot straws are priced at just 10,000 riel per box of 50 straws

Sokhon was pleased to have been noticed by the environment minister, saying that it was very encouraging to know he had seen them.

“I was very happy to see the minister helping to promote Cambodian products like that. He even introduced the Japanese ambassador to our non-plastic products,” she said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Final verdicts for Khmer Rouge leaders ‘vital’ for next generation

    Nearly a decade after the commencement of Case 002/02 against Khieu Samphan back in 2014, the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is now set to deliver its final verdict for the former Khmer Rouge head of state. The Supreme Court Chamber of the ECCC,

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a