Good news for those of us who are all for saving the environment but secretly hate the whole plastic straw ban movement (‘cos how TF are we supposed to drink a Kauai smoothie without one?!): there’s a new straw alternative on the block. LOLIWARE is a US-based start-up who make straws out of seaweed. Their straws don’t disintegrate into a gross soggy mess in your drink like a paper straw but *are* totally biodegradable and we are so here for it.
We know now that single-use plastics, like straws or takeaway coffee cup lids, are basically immortal (they can take around 400 years to decompose), and not in a cool way. Only about 9% of the world’s plastic waste is recycled, with the rest ending up in landfills, destroying wildlife, and harming animals.
Plastic straws are public enemy number one in a lot of South African restaurants and cafes, besides, like, cockroaches and salmonella. It’s not uncommon to spot blackboards announcing restaurants as straw-free zones, seeing steel or bamboo alternatives for sale, and having to sip on water using just your mouth (crazy, we know). But sometimes you just need a straw, be it because you’re disabled and can’t drink without it, or just because you don’t want your coffee habit to stain your teeth. So eliminating straws completely just isn’t viable.
With the tagline ‘Designed to disappear’, LOLIWARE recognises the need for straws while also caring deeply about the environment. Their straws are made of seaweed material and are fully biodegradable. Unlike paper straws, they don’t get soft and mushy after a couple of sips of your Long Island Ice Tea. In fact, each straw can last for 18 hours of continuous use; that’s a lot of sipping. And unlike stainless steel/bamboo/other straw alternatives you don’t have to carry a little bag for your straw around with you.
The company is currently rolling out its straws at events and hotel chains, like Marriott. Their next big venture will be juice boxes featuring their straws, and after that, it’s total world domination, hopefully.
‘Every piece of plastic ever created still exists. There are five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans; an estimated ten million tons of plastic is produced every second. Single use plastics should never be built to last, they should be designed to disappear.’ —Chelsea Fawn Briganti, LOLIWARE CEO
The straws are made out of seaweed but don’t have that salty, seaweed-y taste. They taste ‘neutral’ but the aim is not to snack on them like they’re strings of liquorice anyway. While they can be eaten (if your starters are taking super long to arrive), it’s more likely they will slowly disappear through use, then be composted. And if they do end up as litter it’s chilled. The straws will break down in a few weeks and have no negative impact on marine life.
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We combine seaweed intelligence and innovative manufacturing methods to create the hypercompostable straws of the future. ✨ LOLIAmbassador @lizzykahn from @greenmatters brought her heliotrope samples to Malibu Beach today where there’s a currently ban on plastic — Lizzy will you share your experience with us?! 💗🌊 .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀ #eatyourstraw #lolistraw #ediblestraw #loliware #ediblecup #eatyourcup #ediblebioplastic #compostable #marinesafe #sustainability #greenproducts #biodegredible #compost #fooddesign #foodtech #design #productdesign #innovation #breakfreefromplastic #plasticpollutes #nomoreplastic #zerowaste #plasticfree #ecowarrior
LOLIWARE’s straws also come in vibrant colours that have special ingredients or flavours that will actually enhance your drinking experience even more. There are pink ones that are made with edible roses, vanilla-flavoured ones that are going to up your iced coffee game so hard, and yellow citrus-infused straws, unofficially especially for drinking gin and tonics with.
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