Tran Minh Tien of has a Vietnamese business named “Ong Hut Co” which produces biodegradable straws made of grass, and he shared this manufacturing process in an online video.
To create the straws, Tien harvests a specific type of grass called Lepironia Articulata or “Grey Sedge” that grows wild in Vietnam’s wetlands. That type of grass is perfect for straws because they have a hollow stem and are very long.
Tien and his crew first wash the grass and then cut them into tubes that are 20cm long. Then, the grass is cleaned more thoroughly, inside and out, before they are packed into bundles of banana leaves.
It’s a great product for reducing plastic waste and a perfect example demonstrating that our modern conveniences do not necessarily need to be made out of plastic.
Ong Hut Co is still only shipping within Vietnam, but they’re hoping to expand soon.
There are other outside the box straw designs that are catching on in different areas of the world. In Singapore, selected restaurants have begun serving with “rice straws” which are both biodegradable and edible. They are made out of a combination of rice and tapioca and will last between four to ten hours in cold drinks, and about two to three hours in hot beverages.
Nlytech Biotech CEO Law Yee Tee said that they are expecting to see the rice straws in more markets soon.
“We are in the midst of setting up mass production in Penang. The product is expected to be commercialized in the local market, as well as for export markets, starting in May 2019. [They] will be very much affordable compared to other types of eco-friendly straws,” Tee told CNALifestyle.
There’s no doubt that plastic pollution is a severe problem that needs to be addressed by the people of the planet and alternatives like these are a big part of the solution.
As reported by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, if the current rate of plastic pollution continues, there’ll be more plastic in the oceans than fish by the year 2050.
Right now, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute.
Image credits: Ong Hut Co