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

According to Greenpeace, up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans each year which has a detrimental effect on sealife. Scientists have concluded over 700 marine species have been affected by plastic entering oceans, for example in the Canadian Arctic, 87 per cent of birds have ingested plastics of some sort.

(L: Facebook | Tien Tran, R: Photo courtesy of Ong Hut Co.)
Efforts are now being made to cut back on humanity’s use of plastic then, including many companies replacing plastic straws with paper ones. Tran Minh Tien from Vietnam has been making biodegradable straws from a type of grass known as ‘Lepironia articulata’, which is prolific in the Mekong Delta region of his nation.

Not only are the straws Tran is producing biodegradable, but they also contain no chemicals or preservatives. In an interview with VN Express International, Tran explains how he collects the hollow stems of grass, washing them and cutting them to 20 centimetre long straws. The insides are cleaned out using a metal rod, before the straws are washed again for good measure.

Now ready to sell, Tran bundles them together, wrapping them up in banana leaves of course, which is also environmentally friendly. You can buy fresh versions of the straws which last for two weeks refrigerated, or one week at room temperature. Tran also sells dried straws which are laid out in the sun for a couple of days, before being baked in an oven.
These last much longer, up to six months in fact, and you can keep them at room temperature. You can order the straws on Tran’s website Ong Hut Co., which also gives advice on how best to use and keep the environmentally friendly creations.

Tran explains:
The product is wrapped in banana leaves, bundled with 100 tubes, when you buy it, put it all in a nylon zip bag and put it in the refrigerator compartment. The suction tube can be stored in a cool compartment for up to two weeks. If you do not use it all, boil light salt water and then dry it for longer use.
Grass straws are designed to be used once in every restaurant. For individuals who buy, you can try to re-use grass straws many times. After each use, it can be cleaned with salt water and drained into a cool compartment. The manufacturer believes that you should not throw away this straw after 1 time of use.
Although I know paper straws are environmentally friendly, they are awful to use so I am always looking for alternatives… and this may just be what I was searching for!

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