Local firm turns veggie waste into eco-straws(地元企業、廃棄野菜からエコストロー)

Toresyoku Co. President Satoshi Okimura holds up his 100% plant-based straws and bottles.(植物由来100%のストローとペットボトルを手にするトレ食の沖村智社長)

 A startup in Minami-Soma, has developed prototypes of 100% plant-based straws and other products that will decompose into soil over time. Toresyoku Co. utilizes its recently developed technology to efficiently extract cellulose, a raw material for certain plastics, from vegetable scrap.


 Each day, three tons of vegetable waste, such as tomato leaves and broccoli stems, arrive at the factory. The company buys the scraps from local supermarkets and farms, which discard them during processing.
 Cellulose is extracted by passing the scraps through a special machine, with the resulting substance then turned into powder.


 The company's prototype straws and plastic bottles are brownish in hue due to the color of the ingredients.
 "We can make them transparent by using bleach, but we don't want to use chemicals," said President Satoshi Okimura, 45.


 Originally from Nagano Prefecture, Okimura started the business in Minami-Soma in 2018. He and his wife had moved to the city from Tokyo, hoping to launch a business that would benefit society while living in an area affected by the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
 He has been actively hiring locals, and more than half of his 20 employees live in the city.


 Okimura said he is planning to work with companies in the prefecture to promote decarbonization and reduce food waste.
 "I want to create a society where people, animals and the planet can all live in harmony," he said.

( Translated by The Japan News )


 【 2023年2月9日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】