From paper straws to PLA straws, what are the alternatives to plastic straws after the "plastic ban"?

Posted on Aug 26.2022

"Have a cup of succulent grapes, a cup of hawthorn strawberries..." As soon as the order came, it was my turn to play. I am a straw, ordering milk tea and drinking beverages is indispensable to me. Since the "plastic ban" in Hainan, a lot of changes have taken place in a small straw.

From December 1, 2020, Hainan's first batch of "plastic ban" list was officially implemented. Disposable bags and tableware containing non-biodegradable polymer materials, including shopping bags, daily plastic bags, dishes, plates, beverages Cups (including lids), straws and other products are listed among them.

During that time, our paper straws seemed to usher in the spring. Due to the relatively mature processing and production technology, stable quality and relatively low cost, most of the restaurants in the market chose me as the initial substitute, and some milk tea shops will still be in Customers are reminded on the platform: Respond to the call for environmental protection and use paper straws.

But after a while, I heard different voices: "The paper straws are soaked soft before the milk tea is finished", "The mouth is sticky and smelly", "It will overflow foam when used to drink carbonated drinks"... I understand, these Tucao is caused by my obvious shortcomings and poor experience.

As an alternative to plastic straws, PLA straws were also "on the job" at about the same time as me. This foreign name actually refers to the bio-based polylactic acid straw.

In terms of user experience, PLA straws perform well. They have high toughness, strong impact resistance, and will not become soft when soaked in beverages. Everyone's comments on it are good. But it has a disadvantage, it is afraid of hot, and the degree of high temperature resistance is limited. Therefore, it has also encountered a career development "bottleneck" like me - how to better improve its own performance and meet consumer needs.

Unlike me, PLA straws are a new type of degradable plastic. It is made of starch raw materials extracted from renewable plant resources such as corn. It has good biodegradability and can be completely degraded by microorganisms in nature after use. .

A researcher tested my "new colleague", and under laboratory conditions, it can be completely degraded in about 180 days, eventually becoming carbon dioxide and water. The decomposition of a plastic straw will take hundreds of years.

Not only plastic straws, in human life, 79% of the plastics that are discarded after use go into landfills or the natural environment, and this part of plastics forms plastic pollution. After a long period of time, these plastic wastes entering the environment will be broken into fragments smaller than 5 mm under the action of the natural environment, that is, microplastics. Microplastics may be ingested by animals, or enter the marine environment, or pollute soil water quality, etc., and ultimately affect the ecology and human health.

In this way, our entire "family" of alternatives has a "mission", and we are here to reduce plastic pollution. In order to complete the "task" well, we need to have basic "vocational skills" that are green, environmentally friendly, degradable, and easy to use.

After the "plastic ban", many new faces appeared in our industry, such as bamboo straws and coffee grounds straws. We recommend that you use less disposable straws, whether paper or plastic, if not necessary.