Innovation That Matters

Designer Subin Cho used rice husks—one of the world's most abundant waste materials—to create children's toys | Photo source Utsman Media on Unsplash

Children’s stacking game made from rice crop waste


The sturdy, brightly coloured pieces look like wood and are compostable

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Spotted: Impressive creativity is needed to turn a waste product into something that is both beautiful and useful. South Korean designer Subin Cho has done just that with rice husks. A voluminous byproduct of the harvesting of rice, the lightweight husks take up large amounts of storage space, making them an ideal material for upcycling. And the combination of strength and lack of weight makes the husks particularly useful for constructing children’s toys.

Called the Rice Husk Village, Cho’s design includes a set of coloured stacking pieces and a wooden balance tray. The small pieces fit together to create a variety of scenes and buildings and include houses, trees, shrubbery, bridges and curved corner blocks. Sized for easy play by young children keen to stack and arrange, the Village is fun for general and competitive play.

Older children interested in the competitive game take turns adding a piece to the balance board until it tips over. Made almost entirely from silica, the blocks contain no additives or chemicals, making them safe for young children to chew on. And when a family no longer needs the toy, the pieces can be buried in soil to compost for fertiliser.

From plastic medical waste being turned into a portable toilet to fishing nets transformed into ethical fashion, Springwise is spotting a variety of projects upcycling products that would otherwise become polluting rubbish dumped in landfill or waterways.   

Written by: Keely Khoury



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