The grass straws, a Vietnamese company owned by Tran Minh Tien, has made a great contribution to protecting the environment recently. This company produces grass straws which are biodegradable to substitute the plastic ones, and all the manufacturing procedures are publicly shared in an online video.

How to make the grass straws?

The first step to produce this kind of straws is to harvest Lepironia Articulata or Grey Sedge which is a particular type of grass that grows wild in the Mekong Delta. Tien chooses to use this kind of grass as the material of the straw since it has a hollow stem and is long enough for people to enjoy their drinks.

In the next step, the grass will be washed and cut into tubes which are about 20cm long. Then, Tien and his partner will clean the grass even more thoroughly. After every corner of the grass is washed carefully, they will be packed with banana leaves in bundles.

The video below explains how the whole process works in detail:

Other possible solutions adapted in different areas worldwide

In order to address the pollution issues caused by plastic, many other companies in the world have figured out some alternatives to replace plastic straws. Apart from this grass straws produced in Vietnamese, “rice straws” are found to be served in some selected restaurants in Singapore. This kind of straws are not only biodegradable but also edible. Besides, the material is a combination of rice and tapioca and can remain useful within 10 hours in cold beverages, while 2-3 hours in hot drinks. In addition, it is easily to find that “paper straws” become popular recently in most countries of the world including Australia. They play an significant role in substituting the plastic straws since they can be degraded and recycled, which is environmentally friendly. Furthermore, some more organic straws such as “wheat straws” also become popular in recent years since they contain numbers of advantages. For instance, they can be made into different calibers, very convenient and can be carried easily; and can be degraded as well. 

Insights and future plan

It is clear that there is a trend to replace plastic straws with some alternative ones made out of organic materials. Take the grass straws, for example, it contributes a lot in cutting down plastic waste and also shows that plastic materials do not have to be the necessities in every part of our lives even in modern society.

The grass straws are currently shipping only inside Vietnam, but Tien and his team are considering to expand their business to other areas of the world soon.

The wheat straws are also expected to be seen in more markets soon. “We are in the midst of setting up mass production in Penang. The product is expected to be commercialized in the local market, as well as for export markets, starting in May 2019. [They] will be very much affordable compared to other types of eco-friendly straws,” CEO of Nlytech Biotech, Law Yee Tee told CNALifestyle. 

Therefore, to alleviate the plastic pollution that surrounds with our living environment, everyone should have a strong awareness of it and take actions to support it. Alternative straws like this should be very helpful and therefore need attention and support from us.

Notice, when you are reading this article, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute.