Plastic straws or straws are a serious environmental problem. But are they really necessary? And if so, is it possible to substitute plastic for another biodegradable material?
Biodegradable paper straws have already been seen, but what is really innovative is in the material that a Vietnamese used.
In a Facebook video, which has gone viral with millions of views, Tran Minh Tien shows how she runs her business: a herbal straw factory.
These straws are obtained from various "weeds", but especially Lepironia articulata, a herb that grows in the fields of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, is used.
It grows spontaneously in wetlands and is characterized by having a hollow stem, which makes it functional to be used as a straw.
How are these grass straws made?
Once the herb is collected, it is washed and then carefully cut into 20 cm long tubes.
The inside of the hollow grass tubes is cleaned with a metal rod.
The straws are rinsed again and packed with banana leaves and thus marketed.
There is a dry version of this product that simply involves leaving the fresh straws in the sun to dry, and then they are baked in an oven. These straws last longer than fresh ones.
The straws are not treated with any chemicals or preservatives and reportedly have a mild and pleasant natural fragrance.
How are they used?
These straws are single-use, but biodegradable. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks and at room temperature for a week.
At home, they can be reused a couple of times.