It is no secret that plastic straws, although handy, are also small pieces of a very, very large problem. That is, they contribute to the mountains of plastic pollution the world is struggling with today. Every day, Americans use around half a billion straws – all of which have the lifespan of a few minutes before being trashed. Luckily, many businesses are taking action by limiting the availability of plastic straws or switching to a biodegradable alternative. Now, there is a new company that is making straws that are also a snack!
Lolistraw, created by the company Loliware, is an environmentally-friendly straw that you can eat when you’re done with it. The ingenious straws are made from a new seaweed-based material that is similar to plastic in the way it looks and feels. Like the edible cups the company created back in 2015, the straws can be flavored or have nutrients added to them!
“From our perspective, the way to get our community involved, and the way to get the world excited about this new innovation is to embrace the fun,” Chelsea Briganti, one of the co-founders of Loliware, told Fast Company. “We think that will really increase this movement around plastic-free, because we’re not telling the consumer, hey, you can’t have your straw … It’s not about the consumer sacrificing anymore, it’s about the consumer having fun and being sustainable at the same time.”
Once you get a Lolistraw with your drink, it actually feels like plastic but it changes while being used so you can really bite into it and eat it, co-founder Leigh Ann Tucker explained. If you do not really fancy eating it, the straw is also easily compostable. Even if the straw still manages to make its way into the ocean, it will just dissolve instead of polluting the waters and threatening wildlife the way “normal” straws do.
Loliware is planning to target places that use the most plastic straws like stadiums, coffee shops, or fast food restaurants. The designers are also now raising funds through their Kickstarter page and preparing for mass manufacturing of their product. “Our goal for next year is to replace millions of straws,” Briganti said. “I know we can get there.”
For many, plastic might seem like an out of sight-out of mind problem, but all the discarded plastic straws we use do not cease to exist once we throw them away. A total of around 8.8 million tons of plastic waste is dumped into the oceans every year, and an astounding 700 different species of marine life are threatened with extinction as a result. Thanks to innovations like this, we can start to reduce the amount of waste trickling into the oceans – but we can also make a huge impact by simply abstaining from single-use plastics as much as possible.
To learn how you can help the planet by ditching plastic straws and other single-use plastic items, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!
Image source: LOLIWARE/Facebook