Vietnamese make next-generation straws, friendly to environment

The straws are not made of plastic but environmentally friendly materials such as plants, vegetables and bulbs which can be eaten or used to produce snacks and pasta.

Many kinds of next-generation straw products have been invented by Vietnamese who are aware of the danger of disposable plastic straws.

Vietnamese make next-generation straws, friendly to environment

Most plastic products are made of crude oil and are not biodegradable. Marine organisms eat plastic waste in the ocean because it is mistaken for food, resulting in injury or death.

Tran Minh Tien, a young Vietnamese man has found a way to make straws from co bang tree (Lepironia articulate), which is common in the Mekong Delta.

The straws created by Tien don’t consist of chemicals or preservatives, and more importantly, are biodegradable.

Tien collected hollow roots, cleaned them and cut them into 20 centimeter sections. The tubes’ insides are cleaned with a metal rod.

After being washed once more, the straws are bundled and wrapped with banana leaves. There are two types of straws: fresh and dried.

Most plastic products are made of crude oil and are not biodegradable. Marine organisms eat plastic waste in the ocean because it is mistaken for food, resulting in injury or death.


The former can be preserved for two weeks in refrigerators and one week at room temperature. The latter, which is put under the sun for 2-3 days and then dried in an oven, can be preserved for six months at room temperature.

The straws can be used one time in restaurants and shops, and many times at home. One dried straw is priced at 4.3 cents and one fresh straw 2.6 cents.

 

The straws with natural fragrance are now available only in Vietnam. However, people around the world may have an opportunity to use them in the future when they are put under mass production for export.

Meanwhile, Truong The Tien from Thanh Hoa province, has successfully created edible nutritious straws.

Tien said the straws from grass, paper and bamboo still have disadvantages: they are not the same size, do not easily dissolve in water and have doubtful hygienic level.

Tien, after hundreds of experimental failures, said it is difficult to maintain the hardness of straws. They must not be fragile when used in different kinds of drinks, in cold and hot water, and carbonated and soft drinks.

His straws, called Vistraw, are made of 100 percent farm produce, from rice, potato, tapioca and banana starch. The input materials must be examined to be sure that they do not contain heavy metals, plant protection residues and growth stimulus.

Vistraw is not as solid as plastic products. It will soften after about 30 minutes of use with water, but will still keep the initial structure and only dissolve when immersed for 6-7 hours. Each straw can only be used once, and expires 9-12 months after the manufacturing date.

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