Rice is the most widely eaten food across the world. In fact, millions of tons of rice are grown and consumed every year, making rice the most vital nutrient source on the planet.
But is rice biodegradable and is there a negative environmental impact to our rice consumption?
What is Rice?
Rice is a swamp grass that is processed into a cereal grain for human consumption. There are many species and varieties of grass grown around the world but the most common is simple plain white rice.
Rice is a seed of the Oryza sativa (Asian rice) and Oryza glaberrima (African rice) grass species.
Is Rice Biodegradable?
Rice is biodegradable, but its ability to biodegrade varies based on whether the rice has been cooked or is uncooked.
Cooked rice biodegrades quickly but will attract a lot of bacteria as it decomposes.
Uncooked rice biodegrades more slowly which results in less bacteria growth.
Rice is also compostable, but caution should be taken to avoid attracting pests to a compost heap or compost bin.
We recommend placing waste rice into a compost bin or tumbler before adding hydrated white lime to neutralise acidity and encourage faster biodegradation. White lime also has the beneficial side effect of deterring pests.
Is Rice Eco Friendly?
Rice cultivation accounts for around 1.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, specifically the gas methane which is 30 times more powerful than CO2. Rice can therefore be considered to be a contributor to climate change, but nowhere near as much of a contributor as livestock farming.
In contrast, rice fields and plantations can be located and farmed in difficult terrain which means that deforestation is rarely required for its production.
Providing land is reused for each crop cycle and water usage is kept as low as possible, rice farming can be considered a sustainable practice, although some countries are able to produce rice more sustainably than others.
Rice is biodegradable, sustainable and environmentally friendly.
New and improved methods of rice farming are constantly being found which is reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that are emitted, which in turn is lowering the ecological impact of rice farming, year on year.