Rattan (also referred to as ‘wicker’ or ‘cane’) is a distinctive hand-woven material. It was originally made from rattan vines and natural wooden cane, but these materials expand and don’t retain colour, so are no longer used.
While the palm tree the material is derived from is geographically limited in location, rattan itself is easily renewable, and the impact its sourcing has on the environment is almost negligible.
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Village communities in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam rely heavily on the rattan trade. Sales account for up to 50 % of cash income in villages, making rattan a major contributor to poverty alleviation in rural areas.
If using rattan outdoors, cart it inside during harsh weather and place a cover over it when not in use to prolong its usefulness. Rattan lasts far longer on a protected porch or indoors than it will left out exposed to the elements for months on end.