Engineers Develop Edible Straws to Combat Plastic Pollution
Tom Spendlove posted on December 07, 2017 |
LOLISTRAW is made from a seaweed base and hyper compostable.

Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker entered a food design competition in 2010 with an industrial design project to combat pollution. They said that 25 billion plastic cups were thrown away every year in American landfills, and their solution to the problem was a biodegradable and edible cup. After launching their LOLIWARE product in 2015 the group is back raising funds for their LOLISTRAW edible straws. The team says that 500 million plastic straws are thrown away every day in the United States, and want to make a dent in that number.

The straws are made from a base seaweed material. Chelsea and Leigh Ann say that seaweed is nutrient dense, grows fast, and removes CO2. They believe that the CO2 absorption and the fact that seaweed can be grown in water instead of using land gives the product a benefit over corn based bioplastics. The idea for avoiding landfill is that the plastic free material will either be turned back into plant fuel through composting, into machine fuel through anaerobic digestion, or into human fuel through human digestion.

LOLISTRAW is expected to last up to 24 hours inserted into liquid, have a shelf life of up to 24 months, and compost from straw to soil in 60 days. The campaign page mentions new patents for the straw design and ingredients, the company and two founders already hold several patents in the field of edible containers.

Drinking out of seaweed straws gets an immediate negative reaction from my taste buds, but I’m assuming the ingredients will be similar to the tapioca syrup, cane sugar and natural flavors that make up the bulk of the LOLIWARE cup’s ingredients. Plastic waste continues to be one of the largest challenges that sustainability engineers are fighting, and I’m hoping these edible straws can be a part of the solution. We’ve previously covered Ooho, the Edible Water Bottle available in limited quantity at festivals and special events. The campaign ends on January 10 and if successful first units are expected to ready for shipments in August 2018.

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