Short drinking straws history

wide bamboo straws

Did You know…

  • The ancient Sumerians, one of the first known civilizations to produce beer, immersed long thin tubes of precious metals in large jars 5,000 years ago to reach the liquid after fermentation by-products.
  • The first patent for paper straw was registered by Marvel Stone in 1888. USA. In 1880, on a hot summer day, M. Stone has a drink, when rye grass, used as straw began to decompose. Mr. Stone, then a manufacturer of paper cigarette holders, wrapped strips of paper around a pencil, glued them together, and soon had an early prototype of paper straws.
  • In the 1930s, straws gained the opportunity to be flexible. Watching his daughter trying to reach her milkshake through a really paper straw, inventor Joseph Friedman inserted a screw into the straw, wrapped the floss around the screw grooves, and pulled out the screw. With dents, the straws can bend easily without breaking.
  • Although the first plastic products production began in the late 19th century, the era of plastic straw started after World War II – buyers were tired of saving during the war and wanted to “buy more for less”. Manufacturers appreciated the low cost of plastic raw materials and introduced low-cost consumer goods to the market. Plastic straws quickly became cheaper and more durable than paper straws.

At the time, no one was thinking about what impact the environment would have in the future.

  • Only in the U.S. about 500 million straws are consumed every day. It is estimated that in 2018, the world’s beaches were polluted by 8.3 billion plastic straws. The UK is estimated to emit at least 4.4 billion a year.

Of course, straw is only part of the waste entering our oceans.

  • Eight million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year, with straw accounting for only 0.025 percent. Due to their light weight, they easily enter the oceans, and when they do, they do not biodegrade. Instead, plastic straws are slowly broken down into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics. Which marine animals often confuse with food.

In addition, plastic straw cannot be recycled. Unfortunately, most plastic straws are too light to be separated through mechanical recycling sorters. So they end up in landfills, waterways, and ultimately our oceans.

Now the world is struggling to recover from plastic pollution.

Corporations, local authorities, or governments offer and enforce plastic straw bans.

  • In early July 2018, Seattle became the largest U.S. city to ban plastic straw.
  • Alaska Airlines will be one of the first airlines to phase out plastic straws and stirrers, thanks in part to 16-year-old Shelby O’Neil, who has asked the airline not to use disposable plastic to reduce plastic pollution that harms our oceans.
  • The Soneva hotel chain has not used plastic straw since 2008, and hotels belonging to the Cayuga chain have been using bamboo straw since 2010.

Such hotels have taken the first step, and the travel and hospitality industry is finally starting to chase.

The sale and use of plastic straw in cafes, bars and restaurants has been banned in the European Union since July 2021.

Companies are looking for alternatives – reusable metal or glass straws, disposable rice flour or pasta, various wheat or reed straws. One of the options is bamboo straws of various thicknesses and colors, suitable for use at home, on a trip or in a café or bar.

Banning plastic straw in itself is unlikely to be very effective in helping the environment, but it could be the start of reducing the use of disposable plastic products.