Vietnamese Man Makes Biodegradable Straws From Wild Grass to Solve World’s Plastic Problem

April 5, 2019 Updated: April 10, 2019

Each year, there is a staggering 8 million tons of plastic finding its way into our oceans. Among these are the plastic straws that are used daily. The United States alone uses and discards about 500 million plastic straws each day, and this impacts our Earth in a huge way.

Most plastics are made from crude oil and are not biodegradable. Marine life can mistakenly eat them thinking they are food, which can then get lodged somewhere in their system, causing injury or death. Like the turtle in this video, imagine the pain it suffered after having a straw stuck in its nostril.

In addition, when plastic straws begin to decompose, they release harmful toxins such as BPA that pollute our oceans.

Thus, in order to eliminate the scourge of plastic straws, groups such as Lonely Whale, Last Plastic Straw, Straw Free, and Be Straw Free have sprung up. In addition, many other great alternatives for plastic straws have also been introduced, such as metal straws and rice straws.

An innovation by a Vietnamese man named Tran Minh Tien has shown how a certain type of grass named Lepironia articulata that is prolific around the Mekong Delta in Vietnam is converted into drinking straws.

These straws do not contain any chemicals and preservatives. And most importantly, they are biodegradable.

Photo courtesy of Ong Hut Co.

In a video posted on Facebook, Tran Minh Tien, the owner of Ong Hut Co., explains the entire process of making the grass into straws.

First, they collect the hollow stems of grass, which are washed and then cut into 20-centimeter lengths. The tubes are then cleaned on the inside using a metal rod.

After another round of washing, the straws are bundled together and finally wrapped in banana leaves. Ingenious!

xỏ lá ba que ở Cửa hàng 3TÔm gánh lá từ Nam ra Bắc, người nông dân đã tìm được câu trả lời: "Tại sao tôi không thong…

Posted by Tien Tran on Monday, December 3, 2018

The straws come in two versions: one fresh and another dried.

The fresh ones can be stored in the refrigerator for two weeks, or kept in room temperature for a week. Meanwhile, the dried ones are laid out in the sun for about 2–3 days, then baked in an oven. These last much longer, up to six months in room temperature.

These straws can be used only once in restaurants and can be reused multiple times at home.

A dried straw costs about 4.3 cents while a fresh one costs about 2.6 cents.

Photo courtesy of Ong Hut Co.

The video posted on Facebook has garnered over 2.1 million views and has been shared over 35,000 times.

Social media users have praised the efforts of this youngster.

One user wrote,  “One step closer to a plastic free world👍 keep up the good work.”

Another commented, “need to grow this on a mass scale. no more plastic straws.”

“This is a great, sustainable straw. I love it,” a third one enthused.

A fourth one wrote, “Thanks to help save the planet, no more plastic.”

Photo courtesy of Ong Hut Co.

The company has also specified how to use these straws on their website.

Before using the straw, one can soak it in either water, soapnut, salt water, or even boiled water. They also request that after one uses a straw, it should be thrown in a compost bin.

Photo courtesy of Ong Hut Co.

These grass straws, which have a natural smell, can only be purchased in Vietnam at the moment. Perhaps the rest of the world will get to experience them in the near future.

Photo courtesy of Ong Hut Co.

Watch the video:

The grass is greener when it becomes a straw

A Vietnamese youth is making biodegradable straws with grass that grows wild in the Mekong Delta. https://bit.ly/2I1nF0T

Posted by VnExpress International on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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