The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Straws Made of Seaweed Could Replace Their Plastic Nemesis
A startup called Loliware is thinking outside of the plastic box and introducing an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic straws. Soon "hyper-compostable" seaweed straws — that "look, feel, and act like plastic" — could be heading to a store shelf near you.
Americans use between 170 and 390 million straws a day. To combat this, the Kickstarter-funded single-use seaweed straws are designed to disappear and biodegrade like a banana peel, breaking down in just a few weeks when in the water. Made from 100 percent food grade materials, the gluten-free, non-GMO, sugar-free marine degradable straws can withstand 18 hours of continuous use.
"Every piece of plastic ever created still exists," wrote CEO Chelsea Briganti in a statement sent to EcoWatch. "There are five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans; an estimated ten million tons of plastic is produced every second. Single use plastics should never be built to last, they should be designed to disappear."
Not only are the straws edible, but their creators also write that they are sustainably developed using seaweed, which is a regenerative resource capable of sequestering carbon dioxide in an effort to curb the effects of climate change. Alternatives to plastic straws include paper straws, which cost three times as much to produce as their plastic counterparts and require tree-based resources. Eco-friendly replacements like reusable metal or glass straws are made to last, which is both a blessing when it comes to eliminating plastic straw consumption but a curse in reducing further waste.
Because they have a shelf life of up to 24 months and break down at the same rate as food waste — roughly 60 days or less — Loliware says its goal is to completely replace plastic straws used at high-waste venues like stadiums and fast-food restaurants.
Plastic straws have come under scrutiny around the world as they are among the estimated eight million tons of plastic waste entering the ocean every year. Even so, they are just the tip of the iceberg. Plastic has been found on every continent, including Antarctica, and at the bottom of the world's deepest oceans. In fact, less than one in ten single-use plastics ever make it to a recycling facility.
Consumer and corporate accountability advocates have responded by pressuring major companies to eliminate their plastic use. Trader Joe's announced that it will be making plans to eliminate more than 1 million pounds of plastic from its stores, including eliminating single-use plastic carryout bags and replacing produce bags and Styrofoam meat trays with biodegradable and compostable options. Likewise, last summer Starbucks became the largest food and beverage retailer to ban plastic straws with a full phase out expected by 2020.
Loliware's seaweed straws have exceeded their $30,000 goal by nearly $20,000 between almost 1,100 backers.
- From seaweed to sugarcane, companies race to find the next great ... ›
- Innovative Food Packaging ›
- Alternatives - The Last Plastic Straw ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Cathy Brown
Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.
Losing weight, improving heart health and decreasing your chances for metabolic diseases like diabetes may be as simple as cutting back on a handful of Oreos or saying no to a side of fries, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.
Scotland produced enough power from wind turbines in the first half of 2019, that it could power Scotland twice over. Put another way, it's enough energy to power all of Scotland and most of Northern England, according to the BBC — an impressive step for the United Kingdom, which pledged to be carbon neutral in 30 years.
By Jessica A. Knoblauch
It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.
tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Rachel Licker
As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.