The Making of Leaf Pouches
In this year’s Earth Day, which falls annually on 22nd April, Banyan Tree presents a collection of skincare, body care, and aromatherapy products bundled together to promote wellness and self-care. Encased in a one-of-a-kind leaf pouch, this pouch is painstakingly handcrafted using preserved leaves from the Tong Tung tree (Dipterocarpus tuberculatus) which are endemic in the forests of northern Thailand.
The leaves from this deciduous tree have long been used in local communities in northern Thailand. Highly sustainable and durable, the locals from this region use the leaves as packaging, food wrapping, and roof thatching. However, there came a time when the leaves are no longer used but are discarded and became a waste heap.
As crafting with the Tong tung leaves is starting to become a thing of the past, Chiang Mai native, Mr. Poramate Sai-Uparach created the organisation, “Mr. Leaf”, to find more ways in making use and transforming the Tong Tung leaves into different products while ensuring long-lasting durability.
How are the leaf pouches made?
This leaf pouch, along with other Mr. Leaf products, is a result of the collaborative effort of the community. Enlisting the help of the locals makes it easier to collect the materials needed and craft them into different products.
- The fallen leaves are gathered from May to September. This is the time of the year when the Tong Tung trees shed their leaves.
2. After the leaves are collected, they are processed and sun-dried for many days to protect them from getting mouldy.
3. They are soaked in water to make them flexible to work with. Then, they are steamed to be sterilised. The leaves are arranged into sheets to be dried under the sun again.
4. Laminated using nano-latex, the leaves are also treated with a waterproof coating to ensure durability and water resistance.
5. The Tong Tung leaves are now ready for production. They can be handcrafted into bags, cases, placemats, coasters, wallets, coin pouches, and notebooks through die-casting or sewing processes.
True to its role as a socially responsible retailer, Banyan Tree collaborates with Mr. Leaf to promote environment-friendly and sustainable products/collections to increase environmental awareness. They are committed to supporting local artisans and communities while conserving their heritage through traditional crafts.
Check out the featured Earth Day Sets with its leaf pouches from this link: