Coming from rural parts of Nepal, during my childhood I remember using rice stem as a straw since plastic straws were not available. Stems of rice, wheat are hollow. It could be used and just thrown away to nature since it is biodegradable. However, research has to be done if it would be disease, chemical or toxic free. Also, I could remember borrowing shampoos or pickles in the lotus leaves since paper would break down easily and plastics were not common. There are different leaves in nature that can repel water. These water repellent properties could be studied in detail. They could provide different innovative ideas for liquid packaging.
There are different natural resources that has not been used wisely. Banana stem, pineapple leaves and many more have very big scope to create new materials out of it. Banana stem after the fruit is harvested are thrown away just as waste. Farmers are having trouble to dispose them properly as it covers up big space. A lot of research and funding is necessary to create different valued products from these materials.