As one of the oldest traditional features of Japanese homes today, tatami date back to at least the Nara Period (710-794), with their first written mention being in the “Kojiki” (The Record of Ancient Matters).

Primarily made of igusa (rush straw), tatami are an eco-friendly and naturally antibacterial form of interior insulation and can help regulate room humidity levels by wicking away moisture. Tatami’s required maintenance and lifespan of only 50 years, however, has led to their decline in contemporary homes.

This month, On: Design looks at a few innovations designed to recycle tatami waste, champion the benefits of igusa and help revitalize the waning industry.