[107] Konglor – in a basket

They have one for everything. Whereas we could think that they all are the same, they are not, every different shape has a different purpose. And moreover, they are zero waste objects avant-la-lettre.

After almost an hour on a boat through absolute darkness, I end up at the other side of the Konglor Cave. The cave literally separates two communities on each site of the rocks. There are various legends about how both villages found out about the other’s existence, and today they reached hands to organise community-based tourism around it. Although there are not many tourists at all, it is certain that the profits go to the local people, rather than to an independent or foreign tourism company.

For every purpose, a basket

So at the other side of the cave, the community showcases and sells its traditional techniques to make a living. One incorporates weaving of silk, the other brings me back to the topic of last’ blog: zero waste packaging.

While the women are skilled in weaving silk, the men are the ones weaving baskets. Out of natural materials such as rattan and bamboo, various baskets are designed for various purposes.

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While Laos is known for its sticky rice, and I’ve been eating this for a couple of weeks now, I did not make the link yet. Every time sticky rice is served – which is a kind of rice prepared as such that it sticks all together, you really got a hump of rice if you get it out of its basket. Because that’s the thing, this kind of rice is always served in a woven basket of natural materials. It keeps the rice warm and sealed. And apparently it must have been the lunch box of the old times – and still used. The little box is sealed since it exists out of two baskets which are slide one over another. Than a cord around it makes it possible to carry and take it with you to the field – in case of farmers – or to wherever you want to go.

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[An omelet with sticky rice in a basket, delicious & zero waste]

In addition, the village shows us a wide array of woven baskets who all have their specific purpose. There are baskets to go for fishing, to use to store the fish, to store anything eventually. The good thing is, they are all made of natural materials, handmade and local made, yet their production process does not result in a huge environmental impact and/or emissions. While after its life-time it will return to nature, precisely where it came from.

Planet, People and Profit

So, while all companies around the world are looking for biodegradable package materials, it is almost amazing to see how it actually already exists. Moreover, the baskets don’t only promote the recycling process, but the reducing and re-using process as well. As all these biodegradable packaging materials are definitely no single-used ones.

Add the locally produced aspect, and one might become close to a real sustainable product that serves people, profit and planet.

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