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362: Straw drinking-straw


Americans use 500 million disposable straws per day – or 1.6 straws per person. 500 million straws could fill over 127 school buses each day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year! Some scientists estimate there are 7.5 million plastic straws polluting U.S. shorelines, and anywhere from 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws on shorelines around the world.

France alone consumes more than 9 million plastic straws per year. For a few seconds of pleasure, people have been ready to use a plastic product which will take hundreds of years to decompose. From January 1, 2020, it became illegal to sell plastic drinking straws and drinks stirrers, in France and the UK.

But an alternative had to be found. In June 2018, McDonald’s fast food chain announced it would replace its plastic straws with paper ones, fine for CocaCola but inadequate for milk shakes. The same month, Starbucks announced plans to ditch plastic straws in all its coffee shops around the world by 2020.


Jeff Lubrano, a 50-year-old designer at Studio Fertile in Paris, teamed up with 26-year-old Mike Sallard on his farm in Courgeoût, in France’s Orne region, where with his father they have been cultivating organic cereals for twenty-five years. Having shared and been shocked by a video on the Internet of a tortoise suffering from a plastic straw in its nasal cavity, they decided something must be done.

Having made many experiments to create straw drinking straws in the “Fab Lab” the Elabo de Bellême, Messsrs. Lubrano and Sallard launched the brand La Perche. The plan is to produce 3 million straw-straws in the first year, 15 million the second and 70 million the third. They are now planning to produce straw-based ear-buds and another project: « La sucette normande ». (“The Normandy lollipop”): a candy apple, attached to the end of a rye stick. The packaging would be biodegradable made of flower seeds.

Another alternative is bamboo. True Green Enterprises of Boca Raton, Florida was founded in 2007 by Terry Lehmann, determined to make bio-degradable hot cups and straws. These are made using sugar cane husks and bamboo, the two fastest-growing renewable sources of fiber for paper products in the world. It is better than a normal paper straw because of the qualities of bamboo. Terry developed the Green2 for Retail brand and the TreeFree for Commercial brand. In 2018 Terry received the WBE Star Award for women’s excellence in business leadership. (

Another is the Lolistraw, made of a seaweed-based material and designed by Chelsea F. Briganti of Loliware in New York. This straw can be consumed after you finish your drink (if you don’t eat it, it can go in the compost or just dissolve in nature.) Briganti coined the term “Hyper-compostable” to convey that all of their products, including Lolistraw, will break down at the same rate as food waste in compost or in the natural environment, such as a waterway.

The company is VC backed and has partnered with IDEO, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The Last Plastic Straw, Plastic Pollution Coalition & The Lonely Whale Foundation. The team recently announced their plan to replace one billion plastic disposables by 2020.

Discover Solution 363: Iron fertilisation

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