Quantcast

Straws Made of Seaweed Could Replace Their Plastic Nemesis

Business
Left: Seaweed on a beach. Alex Reed / EyeEm / Getty Images. Right: Straws made from seaweed. loliware

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.



Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sesame, three months old, at Seal Rescue Irleand. Screenshot / Seal Rescue Ireland Instagram

On Friday, Seal Rescue Ireland released Sesame the seal into the ocean after five months of rehabilitation at the Seal Rescue Ireland facility. Watch the release on EcoWatch's Facebook.

Read More Show Less
Beer packs of Guinness will now come in a cardboard box. Diageo

By Jordan Davidson

Guinness is joining the fight against single use plastic. The brewer has seen enough hapless turtles and marine life suffering from the scourge of plastic.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
fstop123 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.

To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.

Read More Show Less
Maskot / Getty Images

People of all ages are spending more of their day looking at their phones, computers and television screens, but parents now have another reason for limiting how much screen time their children get — it could lead to behavioral problems.

Read More Show Less

Rapper and comedian Lil Dicky released a 7-minute climate change awareness song and video today, ahead of Earth Day on Monday, with proceeds going to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

The New York City Council passed the world's "largest single carbon reduction effort that any city, anywhere, has ever put forward" on Thursday afternoon, marking a major milestone in the fight against the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Jason Momoa speaking at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con International, for "Aquaman" on July 21, 2018. Gage Skidmore / Flickr

From Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones to Aquaman, some of actor Jason Momoa's most iconic roles have been linked to the beard he has worn since 2012.

But on Wednesday he decided it was "time to make a change," for himself and for the planet. A video posted on Instagram showed him beginning to shave his beard in a bid to raise awareness about plastic pollution, the Huffington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde (L) and broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough take part in a discussion on nature and the economy in Washington, DC, April 11. MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images

Beloved nature broadcaster Sir David Attenborough narrated a BBC documentary on climate change Thursday that Guardian reviewer Rebecca Nicholson said aimed to encourage action around climate the way that Attenborough's Blue Planet II galvanized the world against single-use plastic.

Read More Show Less