(TMU) — As the world tries to cut down on plastic waste, single-use plastics have increasingly come under fire for their contribution to the growing crisis of pollution. In the case of plastic straws, not only do most of them end up in the ocean, but they also kill marine life once there—and people are beginning to reject them in favor of reusable products or sustainable, eco-friendly alternatives.
In Italy, the latest sustainable straw trend sweeping over bars and restaurants is of a truly national character. Rather than flimsy paper straws or ones made from biodegradable plastics, Italians are using straws made from pasta.
A picture of the straws made waves when it was posted to Reddit last month, where it got over 77 thousand up-votes. One impressed user commented, “Italian engineering at its finest.”
As it turns out, UK-based company Stroodles actually sells the eco-conscious pasta straws, which can be composted or even eaten after being used. The straws, which are made in Italy, are entirely comprised of two simple ingredients: durum wheat and water. As one would expect, the Stroodles are more or less flavorless—although if you focus, you can taste the distinct starchiness of uncooked pasta.
The straws are far stronger than paper straws and last over an hour in a cold drink before they get soggy. However, using a Stroodle to sip on hot drinks is not recommended—if you decide to use it in your hot tea or coffee, expect it to go molto al dente pretty fast before rupturing and possibly leading to a scalding-hot spill.
The Stroodles website explains:
“With Stroodles, you don’t have to change behaviors and compromise on your drinking experience. By stroodling your drink, you can do good, the easy way. We call this ‘drink-easy.’”
— Joanne Ashman (@JoAshers) April 18, 2018
Company founder Maxim Gelmann explained to Bored Panda:
“Stroodles is not just a straw company and there is a much bigger picture, as I feel I can leave a long-term impact by creating a ripple effect by triggering many small changes all across the world, especially among people that are less conscious of sustainability and their respective actions and behaviors.
Thus, Stroodles is rather a movement and an educational company and a gateway to more sustainable behaviors and thinking and the straw is just our first channel (of communication) in our mission to fight plastic waste.
We thereby want to attract and reach the less (environmentally) conscious people and show them, how easy it is to make sustainable changes and have them enter their life.”
— Pago Premium Juices (@PagoFruitJuices) September 14, 2019
According to For A Strawless Ocean, over 500 million plastic straws are used in the United States every single day. Because most plastic straws are so lightweight, they typically evade mechanical recycling sorters, ending up in the regular garbage, or contaminating recycling loads.
The straws also typically end up littering streets and in gutters or storm drains, or worse—breaking up into microplastics that pose a tremendous danger to marine life.
— STROODLES Pasta Straws (@stroodles_straw) October 1, 2019
“The approach is to do this in a fun and non-preachy, non-finger-pointing manner. I rather aim for people to engage with a Stroodle and then start asking themselves the right questions, like ‘Why is there a pasta straw in my drink?’
Thus, little realizations like that and them coming to their own conclusions, rather than being sold/preached. [It’s] much more powerful in creating behavioral and mindset changes. And … maybe next time one is offered a plastic bag, they will behave differently.”