Despite the best efforts and campaigns to eradicate the use of straws, it’s ever more apparent that we need a reliable and sustainable alternative to plastic straws. Plastic is unsustainable and there are clear ways in which we could still accommodate modern trends far much more sustainably.
Ecofriendly choices such as hemp can be game-changers for the environment and hemp straws are no different. Straws made out of hemp can offer the same durability and strength as they contain bioplastic from hemp which ensures they don’t disintegrate but also don’t leave an after taste like the steel or bamboo options.
Since hemp drinking straws are plant-based, they are fully biodegradable. They are made from hemp fiber which is an extract of hemp stalks. The raw material is organic, therefore, hemp straws are sustainable. The straws are a good alternative to conventional plastic straws or paper straws.
Uses of Hemp Drinking Straws
You can use hemp drinking straws for taking your favorite cold drink or plain water. Like conventional plastic straws, hemp straws are ideal for both home and commercial use. Commercially, they can be used in the food and beverage industry, in restaurants and fast food outlets when serving customers drinks. They are also available in different colors, making them attractive to adults and kids alike.
About Single-use Plastic Straws
Plastic straws are mostly single-use and disposable after use. They are, therefore, worse than other plastic items because they are single-use items. They are also used very frequently globally which causes an environmental hazard.
It is estimated that in the USA alone, about 500 million single-use plastics are used every day. That is an estimate of 18 billion straws in one year alone. That can explain why straws are among the top ten items found during beach clean-ups.
Benefits of Hemp Straws
1. Sturdy and a good alternative to Conventional straws
Hemp straws are sturdier than paper straws and a good alternative to traditional plastic straws. They are also more practical than paper straws because when dipped in a drink they do not disintegrate. You can use hemp plastic straws in the place of conventional plastic straws or paper straws.
2. Hemp disposable Straws Come from a renewable Raw Material
As mentioned earlier, hemp straws are plant-based. The industrial hemp plant is an annual crop that takes about 3 months to reach full maturity. Besides, farming hemp requires few fertilizers and little water in comparison to other plants. This makes hemp a sustainable plant to grow. Because farming hemp uses few fertilizers, it can be intercropped with food crops more easily. Contrarily, other products like cotton use a lot of fertilizers thus not ideal for farming food crops.
That is why hemp is a sustainable crop. Since hemp is an annual crop, it can be planted every year to supply enough raw materials for factories manufacturing hemp straws and other eco-friendly products from its bio-plastic.
Unfortunately, conventional straws are plastic. The plastic comes from fossil fuels which are a non-renewable resource with limited. The supplies are not only limited but found in only some parts of the world. Eventually, the resources will get depleted. It is important that we start switching to alternatives to petroleum-based plastic to produce sustainable and biodegradable straws and other bio-plastic products.
4. Hemp Straws are Biodegradable
Hemp straws come from 100% organic material. As such, it takes less than six months to decompose fully. This means that even if dumping of hemp straws into the oceans will still happen (we hope it won’t), there won’t be a sign of it in less than a year’s time. This is why hemp straws are a good alternative to conventional straws.
5. Hemp Plastic Straws are Not Pricey
Because they are eco-friendly and biodegradable straws made out of hemp tend to be somewhat pricier than conventional plastic straws, however, the price is still quite comparable. For example, for $20USD, you can buy a box of 100 hemp straws.
On the other hand, conventional straws are made from non-biodegradable and mostly non-recyclable material since they are petroleum-based products. Plastic straws contain polypropylene which takes centuries to decompose. Polypropylene is also not easy to recycle. It is quite unfortunate that plastic straws find their way into marine eco-systems which is an environmental hazard.
Plastic straws account for land, beach, and ocean pollution because there is no proper way to discard them. They end up choking marine wildlife because they breakdown into very small pieces but they don’t decompose. Marine wildlife also ends up ingesting the small pieces of plastic. The result is poor marine health.
5. Industrial Hemp Farming Reverses The Effects Of Global Warming
Hemp absorbs carbon dioxide from the environment during the photosynthesis and releases the much-needed oxygen into the environment. The industrial hemp plant uses more carbon dioxide in comparison to other plants.
Converting fossil fuels to plastic is not an eco-friendly process and has significant and adverse environmental effects. The manufacturing of conventional straws releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the environment. Greenhouse gases are responsible for air, and water pollution and global warming, which leads to climate change. Climate change has already caused significant damage to the planet. Some of the hazards include species extinction and floods. Other adverse effects are the shrinking of glaciers, intensive heat waves, and decreasing sea ice.
The Future of Hemp Straws
There is hope for biodegradable hemp straws in the future. This is because fossil fuel resources are limited. As a result, the depletion of the resources calls for an alternative sustainable resource like hemp bio-plastics.
Secondly, hemp straws are a better and strong alternative in comparison to paper straws which are also eco-friendly. In addition to that, more consumers and governments are getting more and more sensitive to global warming issues. In fact, conventional straws have been banned by some countries because they are not eco-friendly.
Besides that, hemp is a legal product without cultivation restrictions anymore. However, its association with marijuana prohibited its use in the USA and in many parts of the world for many decades. In the USA, since the 1970s hemp was classified under the controlled substances plant.
The 2018 Farm Bill
Noteworthy, the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, legalized hemp. The plant is expected to be a raw material in many industries. But since hemp farming legalization happened recently, it will take time for systems to be set up in farming and manufacturing and supply enough raw materials.
That said, more and more consumers are aware of global warming effects. Some have been affected by extreme changes in climate. We, therefore, expect more consumers to demand hemp straws in the future.
The legalization of the 2018 Hemp Farm Bill has opened a new chapter of hemp products. However, it takes time to implement a new bill. We expect that in the future, the biodegradable hemp straws will take over petroleum-based straws.