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Gary commented on CHITIN-BASED DRINKING STRAW

Present straws are made of plastic, which don't easily degrade. Recycling them is not a viable option, since they contain very little material and the recycling efficiency would be very low (i.e. relatively expensive).
We chose chitin for the following reasons: 1. it's water-proof (it's a polysaccharide related to cellulose) 2. it's easily degraded by natural enzymes (made by bacteria and fungi), 3) it's abundant and cheap (being a by-product of a shrimping industry, currently going into landfills), 4) it's renewable (shrimp and crabs make it for themselves), 4) it degrades into a very valuable compound, chitosan, used in a variety of useful applications. Unfortunately, the reviewers thought otherwise and we did not progress into the next round. We filed several patents and are seeking private financing instead..

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Gary commented on CHITIN-BASED DRINKING STRAW

To change over the 'new' straw will require some effort of regulatory bodies and voluntary action from the likes of Starbucks, Coca-Cola and others, but not by the consumers. To the consumer, the cost of the straw is not known and is not of a direct concern: it is' baked-into' the total price of the beverage, together with the cost of the drinking cup. So, to switch people to use the new straw is not a particularly difficult task, as long as there are no other issues (usability, convenience, etc.) and they are not faced with a) side-by-side choice and/or b) beverage end price difference. As an example, right now consumers don't care if they get a take-out food/beverages in paper or styrofoam containers: they may care about general environmental issues, but as long as they are 'not' paying (they are indeed paying, but indirectly) for food packaging, they take whatever the food/beverage is packaged in, as long as there is no perceived price/utility difference.

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Gary commented on CHITIN-BASED DRINKING STRAW

No problem. At least you sound like a person who cares.