“At Nahm Dong Park, we have worked on sustainability from the very beginning, and we’re the very first in Laos to produce natural plates and containers,” said Samuel Vedrines the park’s general manager.
Mr Vedrines noted that plastic waste is becoming a major problem in Asia, and Laos’ neighbouring countries are making great efforts to replace foam and plastic with natural products.
“Laos does not yet have a solution, and these products have to be imported,” he said. Nahm Dong intends to change that.
Nahm Dong, located in Luang Prabang, is now entering the final phase of its leaf-plate project. “We have just started production, but are still in the testing phase,” Mr Vedrines explained. “I estimate that we’ll be able to supply businesses before Christmas.”
He said the main products are made of areca sheath (betel palm tree). “We have found these to be the strongest. The products are biodegradable and eco-friendly, handy, leak proof, clean, and natural looking. They are washable and re-usable, microwave and refrigerator safe, and can be used for hot, wet, and cool food items.” He added that banana leafs also show promise.
Nahm Dong can currently produce square plates in four sizes: 10, 8, 6, and 4 inches. They also make lunch boxes with two inside sections, plus a round four-inch cup and a round eight-inch plate.
“Our production is low at the moment, as we have yet been able to stabilize our supply,” Mr Vedrines said. “There is a lot of areca around, but getting people to collect them instead of burning them is not as easy as I thought.”
He pointed out that Nahm Dong Park has started using the products, and reiterated his hope that they will be able to supply other businesses by the end of the year.
“These products can be used in social gatherings, marriage parties, hotels, fast-food centres, tourism and office caterings, and even at home,” he said.
Mr Vedrines concluded, “I believe that this kind of eco-friendly manufacturing industry has to be promoted to keep the country’s environment clean to minimize impact to human health, provide solutions for waste problems, bring awareness to the population, help the tourism industry become cleaner, and contribute to Luang Prabang’s reputation for environmental care and cleanliness.”
He added that the Nahm Dong project is not for profit. “We want to make things move, not make money.”
Located only 10 km from the centre of Luang Prabang, Nahm Dong Park sits on 18 hectares of beautiful plants, lush greenery, exquisite flora and fauna and rushing waters. The area is spotted with cosy picnic places under straw huts and in flower gardens. You could spend an entire day lounging, swimming, trekking, zip-lining, dining, and enjoying this natural preserve. Not only are you immersed in greenery that is easy to navigate, but you are also in a self-sustaining destination.
For more information, visit the Nahm Dong Park Website.