From waste to a sustainable value chain

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From discarded products,  a group of students has turned them into environmentally friendly products…

Create value for waste

Carpets made from banana silk fibers are a unique product of student Trần Thị Ngọc Trầm, class of English Language 2018, Tra Vinh University. The product won the first prize in the contest “Green Creative Ideas” in 2022 organized by Tra Vinh Provincial Youth Union. This is a new product, that protects the environment, and is highly appreciated for its easy-to-find raw materials.

Currently, after-use cloth or plastic carpets are discharged into the environment, causing serious impacts on land and water sources. If buried, it will decompose into small pieces of microplastics and are mixed in the soil, causing great impacts on groundwater.

As a result, the idea of ​​making environmentally friendly carpets was cherished. The product after being thrown away is still safe for the environment as well as creating fertilizer for other crops.

Ngọc Trầm said: The process of producing plastic carpets requires factories and enterprises to use and release chemicals that are harmful to users, contaminate the soil, and pollute water. As for the product from banana silk fiber, it is quite simple, the makers just need to harvest the banana stem and dry it.

First, remove the leaves and roots. After that, peel off and press to drain water and impurities. Through the process of drying, removing impurities, filtering out the complete yarn, and knitting it into larger yarns to ensure firmness and ease in product shaping. To avoid mold, the product is dried thoroughly, thereby keeping its durability and aesthetics.

The advantage of the product is that the silk fiber ensures durability, toughness, firmness, and beautiful color because it is separated from natural fibers. The source of raw materials is easy to find, the price is low, and the volume after harvest is quite high. The process is made by hand, so there is less waste or damage in the shaping process; easily rolled into durable yarn and is convenient in the production of handicrafts.

The product after use easily decomposes in the environment and can form fertilizer for other crops. “The product also solves the problem of employment for workers. If banana fibers are exploited and used to make handicrafts, income for people will increase, “said Ngọc Trầm.

In 2022, there are 6 ideas and start-up projects in the environmental field supported and connected by Tra Vinh Provincial Youth Union to realize, including the start-up project “Using carpets made from banana silk – New solutions to protect the environment”.

The project is supported to connect forums, start-up festivals, a guide to perfect ideas, and win the first prize in Tra Vinh province’s green creative idea contest in 2022. Currently, banana silk fiber has been discovered and used. Used in many products, among which banana silk is known for its toughness. In addition to being biodegradable, this banana-based fiber is also durable and can be used for many different purposes.

Promote the value of local products

“Honey-soaked Panax ginseng” was formed to promote regional values, becoming a special healthcare product in each family.

This is a project of a group of students majoring in Food Technology including Nguyễn Thảo Vy, Trần Phạm An Bình, Nguyễn Thị Nguyễn Nhi and Lê Ngọc Như Ý. The project entered the semi-finals of the National Youth Entrepreneurship Contest 2022 organized by the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth.

Trần Phạm An Bình, team leader, said: Panax ginseng helps users replenish gas, improve blood circulation,  reduce cough, and eliminate phlegm. This product can also treat such conditions as tuberculosis, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, cough, sore throat, and bronchitis. Ginseng soaked with honey also has many other nutritional values and helps patients recover quickly after an illness.

Sharing about the uniqueness and creativity of the product, Nguyễn Thảo Vy said: Panax ginseng is a product that has not been sold much in the market, most of them are still trading in the form of agriculture, in the process of industrial product development.

The product is a result of the cooperation between local people and experienced engineers in the process of growing the Panax ginseng plant to bring the highest quality ginseng source, with potential for domestic and abroad development. The process of producing ginseng has a breakthrough with stable prices, helping the product gain a foothold in the market, and providing consumers with healthy products at a reasonable price.

Raw ginseng materials are grown by households or purchased at prestigious locations in the Mekong Delta and surrounding areas. The raw materials are preliminarily prepared and processed, cleaned, and then put into a honey jar with a sufficient amount. After the finished product meets the standards, it will be extracted through a glass jar with a volume of 100ml – 200ml; gluing the logo and packaging the product.

The students hope that commercialization will help the product attract more consumers, develop into a typical commodity, and help develop the Panax ginseng plant in the Mekong Delta region in general and Tra Vinh province in particular, bringing economic value to farmers.

By Thy Truong