TAIPEI (REUTERS) – Could plants be the final straw for plastic?
Could this simple drinking straw help cut the onslaught of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans?
It’s made entirely from plant fibre, which decomposes in landfills within months and will not harm the environment even if it does end up in the sea.
“Many species that live in the ocean and eat algae are able to eat and digest those plant fibres,” said Mr Huang Chien-Chung, founder of 100% Plants, which developed the straws. “This is why the speed of decomposition of this straw is much faster than that of common plastic straws.”
According to the United Nations, eight million tonnes of plastic waste are dumped into the ocean every year.
At that rate, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050.
Taiwan is introducing a ban on plastic straws next year, but with plant-based straws costing five times more than a plastic one, not everyone is happy about it.
Mr Wang Wei-man, a night market stall employee, said, “If plastic straws are banned, the price of drinks will go up and customers will buy less – it’s all about price at the night market – they want drinks to be both cheap and delicious.”
100% Plants say it has orders from large international restaurant chains and airlines and is now planning to make coffee cups lids as well as cutlery and plates.