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Evoware's seaweed-based biodegradable straw

Replacing conventional straw with our biodegradable straw at affordable price is a great solution to protect the earth

Photo of Noryawati Mulyono
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Background 

Eco Watch reported that 500 million single use straws become waste every day. More than 1 million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammalians and sea turtles die every year because of plastic waste, and straw is included in it. The diameter of the straw is small enough so animals can accidentally swallowed or enter their nose, clog the respiratory tract and cause the death.

According to data collected by Divers Clean Action, the estimated use of straws in Indonesia every day reaches 93,244,847 bars. If the average length of straw is 18 cm, then the number of straws if stretched will reach a distance of 16,784 km. Furthermore, every three days, straw waste in Indonesia reaches the distance of a circumference of Earth.

The biggest volume of straw waste comes from coffee shops, conference event, and the packaged ready-to-drink industries. As reported by Jambeck et al. in Science Journal in 2015, approximately 275 million MT of the waste generated in the world is plastic. Furthermore, if there is no waste management infrastructure improvement, the cumulative quantity of plastic waste available to enter the marine environment from land is predicted to increase by an order of magnitude by 2025.

Raw Material and Innovation 

We propose seaweed based biodegradable straw as a substitute for conventional straw. Our biodegradable straw is unique because of: 

  1. using seaweed as raw material
  2. using natural process which causes no hazardous waste water


Why seaweed?

  • it is abundantly available throughout the year; its shortage is unheard of.
  • Its agriculture is easy and it only needs 45 days to cultivate.
  • Its farmers will actively participate in maintaining the cleanliness of seashore to obtain the maximum productivity with good quality.
  • We have found that seaweed based biodegradable straw is colorable and has promising mechanical strength.

Biodegradable straw is suitable as disposable straw for coffee shop, juice outlet, tea outlet, bubble drink outlet, etc. Then, we also will develop small straw for packaged beverage industries, which are using single wrapped straw attached in the tetrapack packaging.

 The Stakeholders 

All stakeholders will get benefit from the products:

  • the demand of seaweed  will increase, so the farmer’s income will increase and the bad credit percentage will decrease. It means that livelihood of farmers will be better.
  • the straw manufacturing will recruit employees and give a promising career. If the unemployment percentage decreases, the criminal rate will also decrease.
  • the respective industries, such as coffee shop, tea, juice and bubble drink outlets, airlines, and the like, do not need to pay for disposal and recycling cost.
  • there will be no undegradable straw in soil and oceans that endangers the ecosystem and animals there.


Target Market – Countries 

In the early stage, our facility will be in Indonesia and we will start to sell it in Indonesia because 19% of plastic straw waste is in Indonesia, a archipelago country. The product can also solve straw waste global issue, we are optimistic to fulfill the demands in other countries.

How to enter the Market

We use human centered design approach through online and offline sales and marketing strategies. Our sales and marketing team is equipped with multi-talents and skills from creative and PR agency, advertising, B2B sales and global partnerships.

Our current online marketing is through social media and serial videos using catchy content / story telling. The current offline marketing is through event activations (co-event for sustainable festivals). We are working closely with various partners, such as NGOs (WWF, United Nations, etc) and the government (for the implementation of the regulations and policies). Our B2B sales team conducts regular company visits to related industries.

The challenges

We have identified some obstacles and prepared the strategies to overcome them:

  1. the price of biodegradable straw is more expensive than conventional straw. To overcome this: a) mass production that requires large scale machinery investment and working capital; b) government implements the policies to force the companies to use more eco-friendly packaging materials
  2. the product is more sensitive to water than the conventional straw is. To overcome this, we need further research and development to improve product characteristic.

Though our production capacity is very small compared to the estimated use of straws in Indonesia (0.006%), even more to global use (0.001%),

Idea Title

Ecolution for your future

Company / Organization Name

EVOWARE is a social enterprise that produces sustainable products from sustainable materials

Website

www.evoware.id

Where are you / your team located?

Jakarta, Indonesia

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

We redesign straw using seaweed to replace conventional straw. We aim to replace conventional disposable straw with biodegradable straw without disregarding the preference of consumers to use straw for sipping their beverages. We found that most people in traditional restaurants and street foods considering the hygiene of the top of glass. Other people said that they are used to use straw to prevent choking. And the rest group say that using straw is more practical for enjoying the beverages.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

This idea supports Use Case 3 for replacing conventional straw with Evoware straw.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

Indonesia, then worldwide. We choose Indonesia as our first target market because Indonesia contributes 19% of plastic straw waste in the world.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

We have obtained biodegradable straw which can be used for sipping warm liquid for 30 minutes. We are optimistic that we can improve the water resistance. Our edible bioplastic can be used for straw wrap. We have identified some obstacles on the price and product properties. We have prepared the strategies to overcome them.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.
  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

Goals: become an impactful bioplastics manufacturer with scalable production capacity (more than 2 million straws annually) and higher product acceptance and connect with various stakeholders: businesses, NGOs and government. Steps after the Program: prepare for mass production by acquiring machinery that complies with international standards and any biodegradable product certification

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

I ate seaweed ice and noticed at the rod shape of seaweed. I imagine if the core of that rod can be removed and its length can be adjusted up to 20cm each, then it can be used to sip the drinks. Then, the idea comes closer to the reality when we have successfully developed seaweed based edible bioplastic. We imagine if the edible bioplastic could be shaped as a tubular shapewith a rigid structure, then we obtain the straw. Thoughout hundreds of trials, we finally found the formulation.

Tell us about your work experience

I’m Chemist and Food Scientist with passion in developing bioplastic. I received several grants and award on bioplastic. I have published my research in scientific journals.

Please describe your legal and organizational structure

PT Evogaia Karya Indonesia is an Indonesian private company legal entity established in April 2016

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