Seaweed straws soon replace polluting plastics

Plastic straws have already been deemed hazardous for the environment, especially for the marine life. Where many countries are banning these straws, a startup has now created new ‘seaweed straws’ that feel just like plastics but are more environment-friendly.

Seaweed straws soon replace polluting plastics

A startup called ‘Loliware’ believes that instead of banning plastic straws, there should be a more environmentally friendly alternative and has developed straws through seaweed.

The company’s sustainability adviser, Daniela Saltzman told  “A disposable product that’s built to last for centuries i.e. a plastic straw makes no sense, but one that can be composted or safely biodegrades in the ocean, that’s obviously fine.”

The seaweed straws ‘looks, feels, and acts like plastic’, but are actually made out of ‘hyper-compostable’ seaweed that biodegrades like a banana peel on land and breaks down in weeks in water.

“We’re not advocating [that] people throw Loliware straws into the ocean,” said CEO Chelsea Briganti, “but if one ends up there by accident, it breaks down in a matter of weeks without any negative impacts on marine animals.”

What makes Loliware’s straws different from other ones is that they will only start to turn soft after 18 hours of use and begin to ‘disappear’. They also have a ‘neutral’ taste and seaweed also has the advantage of quickly capturing carbon dioxide, Briganti told the publication.

However, she also mentioned that despite the straws being edible, it is not recommended to eat them. “It can be eaten, but this is not a food, or a snack,” she said. “Don’t expect to eat your whole straw as if it’s a candy.”

Loliware plans to ship its new seaweed straws to many countries starting this summer, and by the end of 2020, it will be able to produce 30 billion straws in different styles, aiming for a production cost about the same as paper straws.