The "10 Million Wood Straws Project" is an initiative for every one to contribute to various environmental issues that have become international problems by making and using wood straws. We aim to solicit the help of everyone to produce and distribute 10 million wood straws in the year 2020 when people from all over the world gather in Japan. By spreading this project to people all over Japan and around the world, we hope that as many people as possible will turn their attention to the current state of the global environment and raise their awareness of environmental conservation.
About two-thirds of Japan's land consists of forests, making it one of the world's leading forest countries. Forests play a role that is essential to ensure our safety and security, such as securing water sources, preventing landslide disasters, absorbing CO2 and so on. About 40% of Japan's forests are so-called man-made forests grown for the purpose of producing wood, but due to the recent shortage of manpower resources in the forestry industry and the decrease in the number of opportunities to use wood, the number of forests that have become unmanaged is increasing. If left unattended, the leaves will grow in abundance and the soil will become arid and the trees will wither if sunlight does not reach the ground. In addition, in order to prevent withering, it is necessary to thin out the trees periodically, but most of the thinned trees are usually discarded and not used. Therefore, in order to protect the rich and healthy forests, it is necessary to expand the use of domestic wood and thinned wood.
When forests are left alone without being managed, not only will the arid mountains lose its function as a water source, but they will also become prone to landslide disasters. Heavy rain in western Japan in 2018 caused large landslides in various places due to extensive and prolonged rainfall, and a large amount of sediment flowed downstream, with a large amount of sediment flowing downstream, often inundating even urban areas with a large amount of sediment. Besides residential housing, the transportation network was also affected, causing severe damage and impact economically.
In recent years, interest in plastic waste has been increasing as a global environmental problem. In addition to the problem of CO2 emissions due to the incineration of petroleum resources, large amounts of plastic waste are discarded in the sea, exerting a serious impact on the marine environment. Plastic waste has a great impact on the ecosystem due to marine animals and fishes eating it. In recent years, the impact on the human body has also become an issue of concern.
Smart Alliance Builder Member (SABM) is a company that supplies traditional wooden housing handed down through the ages that are suitable for Japan's climate at a fair price and a high quality befitting the modern era. Being a company that deals mainly in wood, we believe our mission is to implement environmental conservation initiatives to address various social issues occurring in Japan and around the world through the use of "wood".
Environmental journalist Yuri Takeda came up with the idea of using “wood straws” when she was covering the areas devastated by torrential rains. Thinking that it would help to conserve the forest environment by promoting the use of thinned wood in Japan and the marine environment by solving the problem of plastic waste, she started to turn it into a product jointly with our company.
After countless discussions and prototypes, we succeeded in making the straws by curling thinly shaved wood obliquely, using an age-old technique of craftsmen known as “kannagake” that is indispensable in producing wooden materials to shave the wood thinly. Due to the history of its development, the straw was thus known as a "shaved wood straw". It was the world’s first initiative to develop and mass produce wood straws using this technique.
"Shaved wood straws" were supplied to the G20 Summit and Ministerial Conference, attracting the attention of the dignitaries of each country and the press too. The use of such straws was also reported by the media both in Japan and overseas, attracting interest from all over the world.