The war on plastic straws has been heating up in recent years as more and more people become aware of the devastating effect that plastic pollution is having on our planet.
One of the most popular alternatives to plastic straws is biodegradable or compostable straws, made from materials like bamboo, paper or even pasta. But how much of a difference can switching to biodegradable and compostable straws make?
It’s estimated that Australians use 3.6 billion plastic straws every year—that’s 10 million straws per day! And whilst Australia only makes up 0.3% of the world’s population, we use an astonishing 1% of the world’s plastic straws.
If everyone in Australia would switch to compostable straws, it wouldn’t make a huge dent in the amount of plastic pollution we’re responsible for. But it’s not just about reducing our use of plastic straws—it’s about what happens to them after we’re done with them.
Plastic straws can take up to 200 years to break down, and even then they only break down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic known as microplastics. These microplastics are eaten by marine life and can end up in the food we eat.
Why Should We Care about Compostable Straws?
When it comes to the environment, we should all be doing our part to reduce our impact. And one way to do that is to switch to compostable straws. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Compostable straws are made from renewable resources, like plants. That means they don’t deplete the earth’s finite supply of fossil fuels like regular straws do.
- Compostable straws break down into harmless substances, unlike regular straws which can take years to decompose and release harmful chemicals in the process.
- Compostable straws don’t add to the growing problem of plastic pollution. They can help reduce it!
- Compostable straws are often just as strong and durable as regular straws, so you don’t have to sacrifice quality for the sake of being eco-friendly.
- Switching to compostable straws is a small change that can make a big difference. Every little bit counts when it comes to protecting the environment!
What Are Compostable Straws Made Of?
There are two types of compostable straws: those made from PLA and those made from PHA.
Polylactic Acid or PLA
PLA, or polylactic acid, is a thermoplastic derived from renewable resources like corn starch, tapioca roots or sugarcane. Unlike traditional plastics made from fossil fuels, PLA can be composted under the right conditions.
Straws made from PLA are not necessarily compostable in your home compost bin, but they can be composted in industrial composting facilities. These facilities maintain high temperatures and moisture levels that break down the straws into nutrient-rich compost.
Using compostable straws made from PLA can reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills and oceans. PLA straws are also a more environmentally friendly choice than paper straws, which require significant amounts of energy and water to produce.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHA
PHA is a biodegradable and compostable polymer made by fermentation of glucose or other sugars using bacteria, such as Ralstonia eutropha. PHAs have attracted attention in recent years as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional plastics because they are derived from renewable resources, are biodegradable under both aerobic and anaerobic conditions, and do not produce toxic by-products during degradation.
PHA-based plastics have been used in a variety of applications, including food packaging, biomedical devices and personal care products.
The Benefits of Using Compostable Straws
If you ponder on the usefulness of compostable straws, it is awe-inspiring to realise how meaningful the impact of these light materials is in our environment. Through our small efforts, when done collectively, compostable straws will soon help us leave a lesser toxic practice.
Compostable straws are better because of what they can do:
Create Nutrient-Rich Compost
Compostable straws will eventually break down and turn into nutrient-rich compost that can be used to fertilise the soil rather than sitting in a landfill for centuries. This helps to reduce the amount of waste in landfills and reduces the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the decomposition of organic materials in landfills.
Use Renewable Energy
Another benefit of using compostable straws is that they are often made from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugar cane. This means that they have a smaller carbon footprint than traditional plastics, which are made from fossil fuels.
Same as Traditional Straws
Compostable straws can often be used in the same way as traditional straws.
Reduce Ocean Trash
Compostable straws help reduce ocean trash. Every year, around 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans, and straws are a major contributor to this problem.
Whilst it’s estimated that only around 4% of all plastics produced each year end up in the ocean, straws make up a significant portion of that 4%. Straws are the 11th most common type of trash found on beaches around the world.
So by switching to compostable or biodegradable plastic straws, we can help reduce the amount of plastic pollution in our oceans. And since ocean plastic pollution can have devastating effects on marine life, this is a major benefit of compostable straws.
How to Make the Switch to Compostable Straws
If you’re looking to help the environment by making some changes in your life, one place you can start is with your drinking straws. You can help reduce this impact by using compostable straws.
As a consumer, you can also support the environment by choosing businesses that are making a conscious effort to choose compostable packaging materials. For business owners, intentionally making the effort to opt for environmentally friendly utensils and packaging can make a big difference.
Bonnie Bio: Sustainable Compostable Packaging in Australia
Looking for a sustainable and compostable packaging solution?
Bonnie Bio provides an environmentally friendly and compostable alternative to traditional plastics and packaging. We use plant-based materials which can be easily broken down by microorganisms, making them the perfect choice for businesses looking to reduce their environmental impact.
Bonnie Bio’s products are not only sustainable but also stylish and modern. They are perfect for any business looking to make a statement about its commitment to sustainability.
So what are you waiting for? Make the switch to compostable straws today and help make the world a little bit greener.