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:
- using seaweed as raw material
- using natural process which causes no hazardous waste water
- 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.
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.
We have identified some obstacles and prepared the strategies to overcome them:
- 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
- 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%),