Goodbye Plastic Straws!
Plastic production is second only to steel and cement. Of the 8.3 billion metric tons produced in 2017, only 9% is recycled. Estimated 390 million plastic straws are used based on a collection of observations at school cafeterias, fast food restaurants, beverage vendors, beaches, and restaurants every single day in the USA, according to the market research firm Freedonia Group (2017). It is enough to circle about 2 times around the earth. Plastic straws are eleventh most found ocean trash.
Carbon footprint of a plastic straw
Plastic straws are not biodegradable. Every year 1 million seabirds die due to ingestion of plastic. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Even though plastic straws only make up about 0.025 percent of the plastic found in the oceans, it affects the marine life because of the size and shape of the straws that make it easy for marine animals to ingest. So it is important to keep the straws out of our oceans.
Our Youth Ambassador Ganesh Kumar is keenly interested in the war against plastic pollution. His passion led to the launching of a brand new mission : Goodbye Plastic Straws! He has come up with an innovative solution by making biodegradable straws from palm leaves.
Straws made from palm leaf, do not need industrial composting. They can be thrown into backyard compost bins and break down into rich nutrients in less than 2 months. The waste from palm leaf straws do not enter the ocean and therefore saves the ocean habitat. Palm leaf is an easily available raw material, do not contribute to deforestation, completely biodegradable and natural alternative to plastic, metal, glass, and paper. Palm leaf straws are strong, durable, cost effective , and useful for drinking hot and cold beverages. Each compound palm leaf can be used to make 300-400 straws.
Under the leadership of Ganesh Kumar, Project Jatropha plans on teaching in the Bay Area and rural India how to use palm leaves to make biodegradable straws. We truly believe that his vision will inspire the youth to take the right step toward the fight against plastic pollution.