A plastic straw only takes you 1 second to throw away, but it will decompose in the environment for over 100 years. Are you in a divided mind as to which eco-friendly straws can be alternatives to plastic ones? They carry the characteristics of traditional straws but with the added value of environmental protection. Let’s find out through this article with Xanh Vietnam!

The reality of using plastic straws nowadays

Eco-friendly Straws
The reality of using plastic straws nowadays

Currently, plastic straws are classified as persistent waste, and are one of the waste types that have a serious impact on the ocean environment. As many as 8.3 billion plastic straws are found and are polluting the worldwide oceans according to research results of Roland Geyer, Jenna R. Jambeck and Kara Lavender Law.

According to the published statistics on the harmful effects of plastic straws, the amount of plastic straws being used in daily life is extremely large:

Vietnam: Plastic straws are one of the 5 most common types of waste in Vietnam. They are mainly consumed at coffee chains, restaurants, beaches, sidewalk café, etc. Plastic straws contribute to 1.8 million tons of plastic waste generated each year in Vietnam, that is still increasing by 200% annually.

United States: Americans use 500 million plastic straws daily. – According to the National Park Service. On average, each American uses 1.6 plastic straws per day and about 38,000 plastic straws throughout their lives.

India: India is one of the countries that emit the most plastic into the environment with the amount of waste up to 26,000 tons every day, mainly straws and plastic bags. Currently, India is ranked 15th globally for plastic waste pollution.

Some widespread types of eco-friendly straws these days

There have been a wide variety of straw types that helped reduce the amount of plastic straws consumed and released into the environment. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s go through all those with Xanh Vietnam!

Paper Straws

Eco-friendly Straws
Paper straws

Paper straws were invented in 1888 by Mr. Marvin C. Stone (April 4th, 1842 – May 17th, 1899) – He created this type of straw through an idea of wrapping thin paper around a pencil and using glue to paste again.

Each straw is made from white paper, kraft paper and colored paper. The used adhesive to paste the straw is wax or rice starch glue.

Advantages

  • This product has fast decomposing time, does not harm the environment.
  • Safe for users’ health.
  • Diversified sizes and colors.
  • Do not alter the taste of beverages.
  • Convenient for printing and showcasing your Brand on each straw.

Disadvantages

  • Paper straws are easily hydrophilic and become soft after roughly 2 hours of use. The absorbent time may be faster, especially in hot drinks.
  • There are risks of having an unpleasant smell of paper and glue if the paper straws manufacturing process is not taken care of properly.
  • Cannot produce bendy straws as plastic ones.

In-drink time durations

  • Icy beverage: over 1 hour.
  • Hot beverage: 30 minutes.

Expiry date

  • The paper straws are everlasting under normal storage conditions.

Stainless steel straws

Eco-friendly Straws
Stainless steel straws

This type of straw is made from SUS 304 or SUS 316 stainless steel, which has solid and rustless characteristics. This is a widely popular straw type nowadays due to the fact that we can reuse it many times.

Advantages

  • This product is highly durable and heat resistant.
  • Can be reused time after time.
  • Multifarious size.
  • Not oxidized.
  • Beautiful and luxurious designs.
  • Convenient for printing and showcasing your Brand on each straw.

Disadvantages

  • Users are easily burned by stainless steel straws when enjoying hot drinks due to their good thermal conductivity.
  • This straw is hard to clean and requires specialized tools.
  • It is easy to injure your mouth if the tip of the straw is not well polished.
  • Many stainless steel straws are supplied from unknown sources, they will be rusty within a brief period of use.
  • Easy to endanger users, especially children without adult supervision.
  • This type of straw has a costly price.

Expiry date

  • Depending on users’ manner of storage and hygiene for the straws.

Glass straws

Eco-friendly Straws
Glass straws

This type of straw is widely used due to its reusability and transparency, alongside the ability to contribute to environmental protection.

Advantages

  • This type of product is transparent, which makes it easy to see the dirt remaining inside.
  • Good heat resistance, best suit for hot and cold water.
  • Can be reused many times.

Disadvantages

  • This product is difficult to clean and requires specialized tools.
  • It easily breaks into small pieces that are dangerous to the users.
  • Expensive price.

Expiry date

  • Depending on users’ manner of storage and hygiene for the straws, when a glass straw is shattered, the user has to clean up cautiously to avoid wounding yourself and the surrounding people.

Lepironia Articulata Straws (Grass Straws)

Eco-friendly Straws
Lepironia Articulata Straws

Lepironia Articulata is a “blessed” material for people in the Mekong Delta to develop the culture of our handicraft villages. Recently, Lepironia Articulata has also been used to make drinking straws. This material is 100% natural and can easily biodegrade in the regular environment.

Advantages

  • This product has fast decomposing time and does not harm the environment. It can be composted into compost as well.
  • This is a kind of easy-renewable material.
  • Totally safe for users’ health.
  • Suitable for icy and hot beverages.
  • The production process is simple: After harvesting, the grass will be washed and then cut into several parts of equal lengths.
  • Easy preservation: Store at refrigerated conditions for fresh straws or store at normal ones for dry straws.

Disadvantages

  • Easily broken and deformed when used and transported.
  • Prone to alter the beverage flavor.
  • Undiversified sizes and colors.
  • Unable to print and showcase your Brand on each straw.
  • The safety of products depends on the workers’ skills.
  • The regeneration time is lengthy, usually takes approximately 6 months to 1 year, resulting in not enough input materials.
  • High price due to artisanal production.

Expiry date

  • Fresh grass straws: 2 – 3 days in normal conditions and 2 – 3 weeks in cold temperatures.
  • Dried grass straws: 3 months at normal temperature.

Bamboo straws

Eco-friendly Straws
Bamboo straws

Bamboo is a familiar material that is widely used to produce everyday objects such as toothpicks, chopsticks, tables, chairs, etc. Since ancient times, bamboo has been used as straws for drinking stem liquor. But until now, when the green living movement became popular, bamboo straws have gradually been used widely.

Advantages

  • This product can biodegrade easily and is eco-friendly.
  • Can be reused many times.
  • This product is highly durable and heat resistant.
  • A kind of easy-renewable material.
  • Safe for users’ health.

Disadvantages

  • The color and size are not diverse.
  • This product will be susceptible to molding if it is not stored properly.
  • The form of printing and promoting the brand on bamboo straws is not diverse and the colors are not prominent.
  • Not safe for children.
  • This type of straw has a costly price.

Expiry date

Depending on users’ manner of storage and hygiene for the straws. Bamboo straws should be replaced when they show signs of discoloration.

Wooden Straws

Wooden Straws

Wood is a familiar material. It is widely used in our daily lives. It can also be used to make decorative items, souvenirs, etc. Wood is a completely natural material. It will have high regeneration capacity if it is properly exploited.

Timber straws have been put into use by The Capitol Hotel Tokyu, Japan from January 2019. Opening the trend of using wooden straws to replace plastic ones in Japan and many other nations. These straws are made from cedar wood – a wood grown in western Japan.

Advantages

  • This product is highly durable and heat resistant.
  • Can be reused time after time.
  • This product is highly aesthetic due to the beautiful wood grain.
  • Biodegradable and eco-friendly
  • A kind of easy-renewable material.

Disadvantages

  • Wooden straws will be prone to molding if it is not properly stored.
  • This straw is arduous to clean and requires specialized tools.
  • The production of this product can cause a decline in natural resources if it is produced on a large scale.
  • If coffee shops, boba tea chains, etc. do not clean the wooden straw properly, this will cause infection for users.
  • This type of straw has a costly price.

Expiry date

  • Depending on users’ manner of storage and hygiene for the straws.

Sugarcane Straws

Sugarcane Straws

Sugarcane straws are made from bagasse, combined with coffee grounds and bamboo fiber. A close production process helps sugarcane straws to decompose quickly and makes them completely safe for users’ health and the environment. Eco straws made from bagasse have been used by Gong Cha Vietnam to replace plastic straws since July 1st, 2019. In order to contribute to meeting the “green” needs of customers as well as the trend of reducing plastic waste in Vietnam.

Advantages

  • This product is thin and light.
  • Environmentally friendly and easily biodegradable after 6 months.
  • Having sugarcane odor.
  • This product is highly durable and heat resistant.
  • Do not get soft after use.

Disadvantages

  • The designs are not diverse.
  • Not suitable for reuse many times.
  • Easily alter the taste of drinks.

Expiry date

  • The product can be used for 12 months, when stored at room temperature.

Rice Straws

Rice Straws

Rice straws are made from rice flour, tapioca, … mixed with the color extracted from natural fruits and vegetables in a multi-step process to create a final product. This type of straw is completely environmentally friendly and safe for the health of users.

Advantages

  • This product decomposes quickly in the natural environment.
  • Totally safe for users’ health and eco-friendly.
  • Diversified sizes and colors.
  • Perfectly suited for cold beverages.

Disadvantages

  • This product gradually becomes soft when exposed to water environment for a long time, especially in hot water.
  • The straw will be prone to molding if it is not properly stored.
  • Unable to print or showcase the brand on each straw.
  • The price is still high.

In-drink time durations

  • Cold beverage: over 2 hours.
  • Hot beverage: 30 minutes.

Expiry date

  • 18 months from the date of manufacture.

Some Measures to Reduce the Use of Plastic Straws

Besides using eco-friendly straws instead of plastic ones. There are some actions you can take to help minimize the use of plastic straws.

Use a spoon or drink directly: You can ask the staff to not provide straws when having water at the café.

Bring a personal straw: You should prepare and bring a personal straw that can be reused many times.

In situations where you must use a disposable straw, you should use a biodegradable straw. This straw has fast decomposition time, does not harm the environment, and is safe for users’ health.

Biodegradable Straws Xanh Vietnam

Biodegradable Straws Xanh Vietnam

With the goal of contributing to reducing the amount of plastic waste into the environment. Xanh Vietnam has researched and released an eco-friendly self-degradation straw product.

Advantages of self-degradation straws from Xanh Vietnam:

Ingredients: Xanh Vietnam Rice Straws are made from 100% natural ingredients such as rice starch, tapioca flour, and natural colors from vegetables, etc.

The ability to decompose quickly: Within 90 days, under natural conditions, our rice straws will completely decompose into humus, CO2 and water.

Diverse sizes: Including 4 sizes of 3mm, 6mm, 8mm and 12mm, suitable for all needs of customers.

Totally safe: Our biodegradable straws do not contain any toxic additives, absolutely safe for the health of users.

Certifications:  The production process of Xanh Vietnam has been certified by prestigious international benchmarks such as HACCP and ISO 22000:2018.

The aforementioned information is about the most popular types of environmentally friendly straws that Xanh Vietnam wants to introduce to you. Hopefully, you can find an environmentally friendly straw product that suits your needs and contributes to reducing the use of plastic straws in daily lives.

Reference sources: sciencedirect.com, ipsos.com, nationalgeographic.com, timesofindia.indiatimes.com, thoughtco.com, tokyuhotelsjapan.com and gong-cha.com.

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Eco-friendly Straws – The alternatives to Plastic Straws

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