It's a drinking straw, made from straw!
Sometimes the most sustainable way forward is backward, and considering the environmental havoc that plastics are creating in our world, perhaps it's time for the old-school method of making drinking straws from the stalks of rye to have its day in the sun again.
I'm not a fan of drinking straws, and can't actually remember the last time I opted to use one, but when you have kids, you do all sorts of things you never thought you would, and straws are now a part of our daily life because my children love to use them. And because plastic tends to be a handy material for a lot of consumer goods, even though it's a complete environmental boondoggle, I'm always on the lookout for more responsible alternatives.
We've tried glass straws, which are really great until they hit the floor and shatter (contrary to some of the claims of the makers of borosilicate glass straws, they aren't that durable, and certainly can't stand up to a three foot drop onto porcelain tile), so we've switched over to stainless steel straws. But a new alternative is on the way, and if this Kickstarter project reaches its goal, straws made from actual straw could be another way to get the plastic out of our lives.
According to the book Sundae Best: A History of Soda Fountains, customers of restaurants and soda fountains that were concerned about touching their lips to a glass that another customer used (and which might not be disinfected), were offered straws made from the stalks of rye grass, hand-cut and cured as a sideline by farmers that already grew rye for animal feed. In the late 1880s, however, Marvin C. Stone was unsatisfied with using rye straws, and invented the paper straw (which was made with paraffin-coated manila paper), and rye straws went out of fashion.
Straw Straws is bringing them back, and while they won't last nearly as long as a plastic straw, they are biodegradable and renewable, and could help provide a greener alternative to the 500 million plastic straws used every single day.
Alex Bennett, founder and Chief Straw Man of Straw Straws, has this to say:
The straws are hand-harvested and hand-cut from pesticide-free winter rye grown in Germany, and are sterilized and "approved by the FDA as a food contact substance." Straw Straws will also be grown in two locations in Maine by this Boston-based startup, which also pledges that Bennett "will not pay himself any money for one year from the time the Kickstarter launches."
The Kickstarter campaign for Straw Straws seeks to raise $12,500 by July 7th to fully launch the product, and backers can be the first to receive a package of these biodegradable drinking straws with a pledge of $25 or more.
Our Daily Green is happy to support this effort. We have not been compensated in any way for posting this article, we just think that Straw Straws are great and we'd love to see them succeed.