You’ve very likely heard about this and will very soon notice this in your supermarket, local grocery store or in a restaurant: Government of Canada has banned single-use plastics. In the list of things, which will be banned this spring, after the government’s consultation on the proposed regulations, there are single-use plastic straws.
For some time, in anticipation of the coming regulations and out of the desire to reduce plastic waste, many hospitality places started offering paper straws. But, as many of us already know, paper straws are a very bad alternative. They become soggy very fast and then degrade in the drinks before many people finish the drinks. Paper straws are a pain for the customers and the vendors alike as many customers demand to replace their drinks which have cellulose in them. And paper straws defeat the environment protection purpose of the plastic ban as they require virgin cellulose to be produced. The only viable and sensible alternative to both plastic and paper straws is reed straws.
And it’s where Ukraine comes into play because the country harvests the second largest crop of reed globally after China. The Danube and Dniester valleys host massive areas of high-quality reed in the amounts that are enough to allow tens of millions of global customers enjoy their drinks in an environmentally-conscious way.
Thickets of reed in Ukraine.
Reed straws are a nature’s wonder that solves all the problems that have caused the ban on plastic straws. Reed straws are 100% biodegradable – they degrade very timely: they retain their qualities for about a month as they are naturally adapted to water, and they are easily compostable. The latter feature comes very handy for cafes and restaurants as it reduces the need in recycle waste bins. Unlike paper straws, reed ones only use 100% renewable resources as reed regrows every year. Reed is more renewable than bamboo, which can also be used to make straws, because bamboo takes five years to regrow. Reed is also much more environmentally friendly than bioplastics as the latter requires a lot of energy and water to produce.
Reed straws are good for any kinds of drinks – cold or hot, liquid or slushy. Thanks to their sturdiness, they are much better than their plastic and paper competitors for hot and slushy drinks. Reed straws don’t deform in freshly boiled water and can withstand temperatures of up to 120 Celsius. Unlike plastic and paper ones, reed straws present some unique marketing opportunities – they can be customized by engraving them. Some companies and brands even use engraved reed straws as collectible items.
In Europe, they’ve been using reed straws extensively for some time now. For North America, this product is still quite novel. The Vancouver-based company Straws and Stuff brings you these new and beautiful straws, which will allow you to enjoy your drinks and feel good about the environment at the same time. Your purchase of reed straws will also help the economy of Ukraine where a bulk of reed straws imported to Canada is made. Ask for reed straws at your local Tim Horton’s, Starbucks or any other cafes and restaurants!
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