A young Vietnamese man fulfills his part in saving the planet from plastic by making biodegradable straws out of wild grass.
Tran Minh Tien, owner of Ong Hut Co., arrived at the innovative idea using a species of grass called Lepironia Articulata, locally known as co bang, which grows around the Mekong Delta region in southwestern Vietnam.
In a recent video from VnExpress, Tran explains how the grass, which comes with a hollow stem, is made into straws.
First, the grass is collected, washed and cut into lengths measuring 20 centimeters (about 8 inches).
Each is then cleaned on the inside using an iron rod.
They are rinsed for a second time and bundled together using banana leaves.
Interestingly the straws come in two versions, one being dried and another fresh.
The dried version requires the straws to be left under the sun for two to three days before being baked in an oven. They can be stored at room temperature for up to six months.
On the other hand, the fresh version can be refrigerated in zip bags and stored for up to two weeks.
Unfortunately, these grass straws are only available for sale in Vietnam as of this writing. One dry straw costs 1,000 Vietnamese dong ($0.043), while a fresh straw sells for 600 Vietnamese dong ($0.026).
Facebook users commended the product as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws.
“Finally, Vietnam is taking the initiative to do something right. Keep up the good work.”
“[There’s] too much plastic waste so this is a good use for these grass.”
“[They] need to grow this on a mass scale, [so] no more plastic straws.”
“One step closer to a plastic free world. Keep up the good work.”
“This is a great, sustainable straw. I love it.”
Images via CỬA HÀNG 3T / Ong Hut Co.