Potential use of sludge cake from paper mill wastewater treatment as degradable flower pot

  • Udomsak Kongmuang
  • Hathaitip Sritanaudomchai
  • Ikuharu MoriokaEmail author
Regular Article



Sludge cake produced in paper mill industries is disposed into a landfill and may cause the environmental and health problems. Now many researchers have tried to recycle rigid materials from it for the purpose of decreasing its volume. The aims of this study were to clarify three hypotheses: (1) whether a flower pot would be economically made from sludge cake, (2) whether it would be safe for environment, and (3) when vegetables would grow enough in it, whether they would be safe for human consumption.


Sludge cake was mixed with soil (soil texture: heavy clay). The circular plaster mold was used as a fixed mold. As the toxicological testing, leaching test and seed germination test were used. Heavy metal concentrations in vegetables grown in the flower pot were measured.


The flower pot was sufficiently formed by drying in natural open air. The results of leaching test showed three heavy metals, lead, nickel and copper, were lower than the standard in Thailand. The seed germination test suggested no negative effects of the flower pot on the germination of Chinese kale. Lead concentrations in the Chinese kale were higher than the recommended maximum level in leafy vegetables.


The new flower pot can be made from sludge cake with soil. It has the possibility to have no negative effect on the environment. Although the vegetables grown in this flower pot are not suitable to eat, this flower pot has the possibility to solve the environmental and health problems.


Paper mill Sludge cake Flower pot Lead Edible use 



The authors impress and appreciate Associate Professor Khisana Teankaprasith, Head of Central Laboratory, Faculty of Public Health, Mahidol University at chemical analysis and also Dr. Suphaphat Kwongpongsagoon, Department of Sanitary Engineering, for her improving this manuscript. Special gratitude is extended to Associate Professor Chaovayut Phornpimolthape, Faculty of Public Health, Bangkokthonburi University for his advice for shaping the flower pot. The authors warmly thank Mr. Supasak Nimsongtham and Miss Nalinee Wachiranukul for working together in the Royal Chitralada and succeeding in flower pot shape forming. The authors appreciated Miss Pramuan Sunpakawe, Research and Development section, Tenma Paper Mill (Thailand) for her kindness to allow researchers to use the raw materials data from this industry.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society for Hygiene 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Udomsak Kongmuang
    • 1
  • Hathaitip Sritanaudomchai
    • 2
  • Ikuharu Morioka
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Faculty of Public HealthBangkokthonburi UniversityBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Faculty of DentistryMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Graduate School of Health and Nursing ScienceWakayama Medical UniversityWakayamaJapan

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