Straw Pollution Is a Huge Problem. Here’s a Solution

Americans use 500 million straws each day, according to the National Park Service. That’s enough to fill up 125 school buses or to wrap around the diameter of the globe over 7 times—every day! Unfortunately, most of those straws end up as trash, contaminating our oceans and landfills for the next 200 years to come. In fact, it is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Yes, plastic straws may be relatively small, but they are a real problem.

Consider for a moment the purpose of a straw. It makes drinks slightly more convenient, but on the whole the straw is entirely unnecessary. While other common pollutants, like cars and cans, serve various functions, plastic straws seem too pointless to be causing such environmental devastation. And they are truly devastating.

Related: 8.3 Billion Reasons to Break Free From Plastic

Plastic straw pollution is incredibly harmful to birds, turtles and other marine life. You’ve probably seen the viral video of scientists painfully removing a plastic straw from inside a sea turtle’s nostril that went viral in 2015. Microplastic residue is also found in alarming quantities in the fish we eat. And there are beaches across the globe piled with plastic trash. According to the Strawless Ocean campaign, straws are one of the 10 most common items found polluting beaches globally. The immensity of the plastic pollution in our oceans is also contributing to ocean acidification, which is steadily killing off marine life as we know it. That is a lot of devastation for such a seemingly innocuous drink accessory.

But why do they end up in landfills and oceans? Why don’t straws get recycled? Unfortunately, straws are so small and light they often get neglected and tossed into the waste bin, especially if the cup they are in is not recyclable. So, the only answer is reusable straws, right?

Let’s be real, there is no way every single American is going to start carrying around a reusable straw with them everywhere they go, at least not unless we start making straw holsters fashionable. On the other hand, compostable straws only make a difference if they eventually make it to a commercial composting facility, which many don’t. And paper straws, while fun, can sog out quickly and still create paper waste. So do you need to swear off straws forever? Not necessarily. Enter the edible straw.

Skip the straw

No, I’m not talking about cookie straws, although I fully support any and all cookie products. I’m talking about Lolistraws.

Our current consumer straw options are far from edible. Traditional plastic straws are a petroleum-byproduct, meaning their production relies entirely on the fossil fuel industry. Most compostable utensils are made out of corn, which relies on a heavily genetically modified monoculture crop that comes with its own set of drawbacks. So what edible material is the Lolistraw made out of? Seaweed!

Not only is seaweed readily abundant and great for the planet (it sucks CO2 out of the atmosphere, meaning increased seaweed farming would be beneficial all around), but it is edible. That means no waste! Lolistraws are marine-degradable, compostable and edible. Initially bearing resemblance to the appearance and feel of plastic, Lolistraws last for 24 hours before they break down once they have been used. The straws will even come in various plant-based colors and flavors to make them more appealing and fun. And, when you are done with your drink, chomp chomp, no more straw! (You can always compost it as easily as you would a banana peel if you’d rather not eat it.) If there is a solution to the plastic straw crisis that makes straws more eco-friendly and more fun, this is it.

While not as cheap to manufacture as plastic straws, the cost is projected to be comparable to other compostable and paper straws on the market, which is great news for the environmental movement and businesses looking to increase their sustainability without spending a fortune.

If you think edible straws are a great idea, check out Lolistraws’ Kickstarter campaign to support the fight to get America off its plastic addiction. And to learn more about the pressure straw pollution puts on our planet, check out STRAWS, a documentary.

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260 comments

Leo C
Leo C3 days ago

Thank you for posting!

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Val P
Val P9 days ago

interesting

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Paula A
Paula A12 days ago

thanks for posting

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Anna R
Anna R19 days ago

thank you

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Sue H
Sue H25 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Olivia M
Olivia Mabout a month ago

thanks

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Ingrid A
Ingrid Aabout a month ago

tyfs

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Past Member
Past Member about a month ago

many thanks

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Past Member
Past Member about a month ago

many thanks

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Past Member
Past Member about a month ago

many thanks

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