“Single use plastics should never be built to last, they should be designed to disappear,” said Chelsea Briganti, CEO of Loliware.
Drinking straws have been on a fascinating evolutionary journey, and they may have reached their apex. In the late 1800s, cocktail straws were made from ryegrass, which was elegant but sadly turned the beverage into a mushy disappointment. Next came paper, before plastic took over in the 1960s.
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Posted by LOLIWARE on Wednesday, December 6, 2017
But straw consumption has spiraled out of control. As of now, EcoWatch stated that Americans use between 170 million and 390 million straws a day.
New York-based anti-plastic activists Loliware have come up with a workable, colorful, and tasty solution: edible straws made from an innovative, seaweed-based material resembling plastic that can be made with flavors or even added nutrients. Don’t fancy eating your straw? No problem! They can also be composted, and break down just as easily as a banana peel. Nation of Change added that the straws have a shelf life of 24 months and take 60 days or less to break down.
Loliware also knows that nobody’s perfect, so they’ve thought of everything: if a straw happens to be thrown away and ends up in the ocean, it will simply dissolve. “There are some bioplastics that just break down into smaller pieces, whereas Lolistraw is designed to literally disappear,” said Briganti.
“Some estimate that there may be more plastic in the ocean than fish, by volume, in three decades,” Fast Company added, alluding to the sheer necessity of the global plastic straw annihilation movement. But it’s not all doom and gloom. Naturally, the statistics are alarming, but that’s no reason for the solution to be equally sombre.
Want plastic-free straws? We've got the solution and have been busy in the lab making LOLISTRAWS a reality. Our seaweed…
“The way to get the world excited about this new innovation is to embrace the fun,” Briganti shared. “You can imagine drinking your cold-brewed coffee with a vanilla straw or a caramel straw. We’re not telling the consumer, hey, you can’t have your straw. We’re providing them a solution to the plastic straw crisis while also giving them a fun experience on top of that.”
The straw design is the result of scrupulous research. “[We] have been busy in the lab making LOLISTRAWS a reality,” researchers posted on Facebook in the summer of 2018. “Our seaweed technology is sustainable and benefits the climate by sequestering carbon.”
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Sounds … delicious? Well, the company has thought of that, too! Loliware is no stranger to plastic-free innovation. They designed a fruit-flavored, edible cup with a texture like fruit skin in 2015, to huge critical and consumer acclaim.
Product reviewer Michael J. Marquis wrote: “With flavors that include Tart Cherry, Yuzo Citrus, Matcha Green Tea, and Vanilla Bean, Loliware tastes similar to an adult fruit roll-up.” Worried about germs? Michael was, too, but the cup design covered all bases. “Each cup comes with a compostable paper sleeve,” Michael wrote. “There is a barrier between your hand and the actual cup … Think of it as a sturdy ice cream cone that never gets soggy or sticky.”
#tbt to when LOLIWARE unveiled LOLIVITA, the first biodegradable edible cup with your daily dose of vitamins!
Loliware co-founder Leigh Ann Tucker similarly described the straws, which model the edible feature of their beverage-holding predecessors. “It transforms while you’re using it,” she told Fast Company, “to where you can actually bite into it afterward and eat it. But when you first pick it up and put it into your drink, it’s going to feel like a plastic straw.”
Rampant plastic straw users such as stadiums, fast food restaurants, coffee shops, and juice bars are Loliware’s prime targets for joining the edible straw revolution. The unit price is more expensive than plastic straws but is on par with other compostable straws.
— LOLIWARE (@LOLIWARE) July 8, 2015
The ongoing project is being funded by Kickstarter. As of early 2019, Loliware has exceeded their US$30,000 goal by nearly US$20,000 between almost 1,100 backers, EcoWatch reported. Briganti remains ambitious. “Our goal for next year is to replace millions of straws,” she said.
So, practice devotion to the ocean! Loliware said it best: “the straw of the future is here.”