Rice-based resin used to make furniture in Japan


In Japan, furniture company Meuble has partnered with two chemical companies to develop a resin material from non-edible rice that would otherwise be thrown away. 

Dubbed RICEWAVE, the material was conceived when Meuble, Biomass Resin Holdings, and Mitsui & Co Plastics Ltd. set out to create a renewable alternative to polyethylene. 

“We have been thinking about product development from a new perspective, and have been studying and prototyping products using biomass materials for more than five years,” Michiaki Sakata, CEO of Meuble, tells Design Boom. “While studying various materials, including overseas biomass materials, I encountered rice resin and resonated with the fact that it is made in Japan and that it utilizes waste rice that people cannot eat and must throw away.”

Meuble is currently replacing some of the PE it uses with RICEWAVE, and is working with its chemical partners to replace shift the ratio further in favor of RICEWAVE. It also notes that there is ample land to expand use of the material. “Abandoned cultivated land in Japan is vast, exceeding the size of two Tokyo metropolitan areas,” the company says.  “We have started making rice for rice resin in this abandoned land, which will lead to agricultural support and aim to revitalize the region.”