Two firms from Finland have come together to develop renewable straws after plastic ones were banned by the EU in a clampdown on single-use plastic waste
Sipping on a gin and tonic hasn’t been the same recently for many drinkers as plastic straws have been cast aside for environmental reasons in some countries – but Finnish inventors are hoping to help the world out with renewable straws.
Environmentally-friendly packaging companies Stora Enso and Sulapac have based their straw on biocomposite material made of wood and natural adhesive, which is biodegradable in marine environments and recyclable via industrial composting.
The announcement will be made via a demo launch held at the Slush 2018 event – a gathering of start-ups and tech stalwarts in Finland.
It follows a clampdown in European Union members on single-use plastic waste in a bid to stop pollution in oceans, banning plastic products such as straws, cups, cutlery and cotton buds.
What the Finnish renewable straws inventors are saying
Stora Enso European vice-president Annica Bresky said: “This is an important step for Stora Enso and showcases our long-term commitment to gradually replacing fossil-based materials with renewable solutions.
“Our collaboration with Sulapac is a great example of what we can achieve through partnership in terms of driving innovation to create sustainable solutions within the bioeconomy.”
Sulapac’s founder and CEO Suvi Haimi added: “Today, we proudly announce that we are launching a demo for a recyclable, microplastic-free and marine biodegradable straw.
“This is the world’s most sustainable straw that can be produced on an industrial scale and we have jointly developed it with Stora Enso.
“Billions of plastic straws are produced and used every week – this straw has the potential to be a true game-changer.”
When will renewable straws be available?
Stora Enso signed a deal with Sulapac in May this year to licence its materials and technology, with both companies planning to have the renewable straws commercially available by mid-2019.
Sulapac was founded in 2016 and is based in Helsinki. Its products are designed for brands looking to eliminate plastic waste and increase their sustainability using ecological materials.
Stora Enso provides renewable solutions in the packaging industry and is aiming to replace fossil-based materials with sustainable ones on the production line.
It has more than 25,000 employees and operates in about 30 countries, with 2017 sales of ten billion euros (£8.9bn).
Slush 2018 is a two-day tech showcase and pitching event running today and tomorrow (4 and 5 December), claiming to be the world’s leading start-up gathering.