Plastic Straws now appear to be environmental enemy number one as evidenced by the Algoa Bay Yacht Club declaring their precinct in the Port of Port Elizabeth ‘Plastic Straw’ free and with reports of other restaurants and establishments planning to go the same route towards a plastic free environment.
Alternatives do exist that are made from bio-degradable items such as seaweed, coconut palm leaves and even flour.
The spectre of now only being able to stir one’s drink with a digit or actually raise a glass to one’s lips does still disturb some who have resorted to carrying their own straws into establishments and creating an awkward situation for those trying to do their bit. Frankly – it is quite rude to do so and like taking your own food to a restaurant.
BUT, busy entrepreneurs are hard at work creating bio-degradable and socially acceptable alternatives as these examples from innovation funding site, Indiegogo demonstrate.
1. LOLISTRAW by LOLIWARE is the world’s first edible, hypercompostable, marine-degradable straw aimed at replacing plastic straws. LOLISTRAW is also the most successfully funded alternative straw product on Indegogo with a total of $50 907 raised by 11 January 2018 and was 164% funded.
LOLISTRAW is made from LOLIWARE’s patent-pending, seaweed-based material technology and is 100% PLASTIC-FREE, Hypercompostable, marine-degradable, and non-GMO.
Seaweed is a renewable resource that does not require land resources and actually absorbs CO2, which is why a seaweed-based product has an environmental advantage. Many bioplastics are made from GMO crops like corn.
From Straw to Soil in 60 days. LOLISTRAW creates new value after it is used in 3 key ways – by transforming into plant fuel through composting, machine fuel through anaerobic digestion, or human fuel through eating. LOLISTRAW will last for up to 24 hrs in a beverage and will have a shelf life of up to 24 months.
LOLISTRAW founders Leigh Ann and Chelsea are industrial designers whose edible cups product received $600K for a 25% stake from the Shark Tank investors.
2. The Final Straw by Emily Ehlert in Los Angeles, United States, promises to put an end to single use plastic straws.
The idea is a straw, kept in a small portable pouch, that opens like a telescope and twists into place so it can be used at restaurants, movie theaters, lunch rooms, even at home!
As at today’s date Emily had received $840 from 14 backers representing 3% of her $25 000 goal.
3. Blessing Palms: Drinking Straw from Coconut Leaf. Saji Varghese from Bengaluru, India says; “Save nature. Enrich lives. Join the biodegradable straw from coconut palm campaign.”
Kerala in India uses 3.3 million straws per day. They end up in the oceans and destroy Ocean life.
In Saji’s quest to find an eco-friendly alternative to the plastic and paper straws, he developed drinking straws from coconut leaflets. The patent application is published in the patent journal of India.
The unique properties of coconut palm leaflets make it a perfect material to roll them into straws. It doesn’t get soggy and retains its shape for hours with a shelf life of three months.
Nearly 300-400 straws can be made from a single compound fallen leaf of coconut. The straws, made from the mid rib part of the leaf, can be used for tetra pak juices as it can puncture the seal.
Blessing Palms, the biodegradable straw won a national level prize at IIT-Delhi at i2s Start Up competion held in December.
As at 21 January 2018 Blessing Palms had raised $565 from 8 backers on Indiegogo which represents 6% of the $10 000 goal.
This video shows why plastic trash is detrimental to marine life and why especially plastic straws are one of the most superfluous items made out of plastic, especially if they end up as plastic trash in our oceans. The research team around Christine Figgener (Texas A&M University) found a male Olive Ridley sea turtle during a in-water research trip in Costa Rica. He had a 10-12 cm PLASTIC STRAW lodged in his nostril, they removed it.
See more on Indiegogo.
Of course there are readily available fun alternatives like Bucatini Pasta. Bucatini is a thicker version of spaghetti with a hole running through the middle. In fact, the name bucatini is derived from the Italian word “buco”, which means “hole”. Bucatini originated in the Italian regions of Naples, Liguria and Lazio, and is typically served with savory items such as pancetta, guanciale (a cured meat), cheese, eggs, anchovies, and sardines, or with a buttery sauce and now available with your favourite drink.
Bucatini is a tubed pasta made of hard durum wheat flour and water.
Read More: ABYC Bans Plastic Straws.
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