Rice uses in Construction

In my earlier article I was tinkering with innovative gadgets and electrical sockets and decided to find something traditional which was used innovatively and began researching about. As I sit down to a meal consisting of rice and curry, I got my inspiration. Apart from feeding the world, how many other ways has rice been used innovatively. A crop, a staple of diet for all of us for generations. Were there other uses for it?

A Brief History:  Rice has been a source a food for people. Rice production originated in China and spread to Sri-Lanka and India. It is also believed that rice was brought to West Asia and Greece in 300 BC by Alexander the Great’s army. This humble crop is the most important crop in the world. For 3.3 billion people living in Asia rice provides up to 80% of the total calorie intake.There are so many uses of Rice, as I had researched and different products have emerged from this unassuming grain.

I did find many other rice products such as rice bran oils, noodles but found very interested uses for Rice as an actual substance to replace and use for other products we use.

Rice Paintings


Chittara Wall paintings are an ancient art form made by women of Karnataka,India. Interestingly, White paint is made using rice which has been pounded to a paste. For Black paint, the rice is first burned. These paintings were made for festivals and ceremonies. 

In some parts of the world the husks and grains of rice are used for bedding, fuels and building boards. Rice straw is especially used for animal feed and bedding and it can be made into paper and board pulp.

rice straw

Rice Cosmetics


Traditionally rice also has been used as cosmetics and now rice cosmetic products have become very popular, such as rice oils , body creams , rice shampoos, rice face washes etc.  Rice is considered to have moisturizing and nourishing effects.

Rice paper


There has been a growing interest in finding alternatives for paper making. And rice husks and rice stalks have potential as fibre sources. During harvesting time, abundant rice straw goes to waste, so this agricultural waste could be a good source of livelihood. Rice straw can be processed into simple paper, which is used as cigarette paper, for lamp shades or partition walls. Finer paper also can be made from it, especially together with other sorts of cellulose, like hemp.

Rice Tyres

During my research I learn’t that the Inoue Rubber company from Japan with it’s Thai subsidiary has also developed a new tyre compound that uses rices husks within the tyre. By combining rice husks with resin, the tires become durable and each of these grains in the tyre have needles which additionally grip the surface of the roads.

Rice fast food meal boxes

In China, rice straw and husks are used for the manufacturing of biodegradable fast food meal boxes replacing the polystyrene meal boxes. These rice boxes are also more tolerant to heat and acidity and therefore is safe for food storing.

Road Surfaces


Japanese scientists use a waste product from rice to produce surfacing materials for roads. The rice bran is mixed with resins and the material coating the road helps absorb noise faster, drain faster and is less susceptible to extremes of temperature compared to traditional based road surfaces.

Rice Table ware


Last but not least, I discovered Rice tableware. Rice bran as new and very innovative material for tableware. These products are biodegradable , ecofriendly and toxic free. It’s not easy to combine a green material, design and function but they seem to have done it! Do check their website out http://greenvolutions.com .

As I conclude I’ve realized that there are so many other traditional materials or food sources that can be innovatively used as other products in order for us to use as “green” materials. Look out for more articles like this. 

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