Since plastic came into our lives, it has become a dear product for all of us. It was cheap and easy to mass-produce and it can be molded to form anything. We have used it to make plastic bags, cups, straws, and other things too. It made things cheaper and whatever comes cheap is an instant hit. However, nowadays, we are coming to the realization that plastic is not good – it is something that does not get biodegraded easily and as a result, it creates landfills. Many of them end up in the oceans and make life difficult for marine animals.
But while we are aware of the harm that plastic brings, we do not do much to lower its use. It has been estimated that Americans use up about 500 million plastic straws. So, these ‘harmless’ straws are creating quite a lot of waste. Hence there are many locations that are trying to ban straws. There are alternatives, but none of them seem to work well. There are stainless steels straws which are really difficult to clean after use. Bamboo straws are biodegradable but leave a woody aftertaste. On the other hand, glass straws are too fragile. There are even paper straws but they don’t hold well and become mushy, tasting like paper afterwards. It seems like we need a better alternative for it.
Well, a start-up company called Loliware has arrived with their environmentally friendly design of a new kind of straw. This is developed from‘hyper-compostable’ seaweed which is easily biodegradable, almost like a banana peel. It is completely gone within weeks when put in water. Plus, according to a statement to the Business Insider by Daniela Saltzman, the sustainability adviser of the company, it also feels, looks, and acts similar to a plastic straw. It’s a perfect replacement for a plastic straw and stays intact without decomposing for more than 10 hours. The company is also willing to ship the seaweed straws to customers, which includes hospitality chains like Marriott and the beverage company, Pernod Ricard.
According to Fast Company, Loliware is ready to produce about 30 billion of such biodegradable straws and that too with different varieties designed for cocktail stirrers, juice boxes, frozen desserts, and Boba tea. It is trying to make the cost of such a product as cheap as that of paper straws. The thing is that plastic straws are much cheaper, but the cost of plastic straws does not include the cost of cleaning up oceans which is quite significant. All in all, this appears to be a much better way to go about this specific situation for a better world.
As per the durability of the straw, the seaweed straw is quite durable and will only get soft after about 18 hours of use. That’s enough time to complete our session with our drinks. According to the CEO, it is also of a neutral taste which that means you won’t get a sickening aftertaste once you end your drink. So, it tackles all the problems that were present in the other alternatives to plastic straws. Plus, it is also edible. However, CEO Chelsea Briganti claims that it is not a snack or food. Anyone using the straw should not try to eat it as it is not candy. So, it’s better to just use it like a straw and get rid of it once its use is over – without any guilt.
So, Loliware is really taking a massive leap towards the betterment of our planet and humankind as a whole. Maybe we should try to take their side and help them on their journey. It would be worth it, no doubt!
IMAGE CREDIT: Kichigin Aleksandr