Wed, Sep 19, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Drinking responsibly: non-plastic straws
一起愛地球!六種環保吸管材質你選哪一樣?

Plastic straws are small and light, but are often not recycled, which can cause environmental and marine pollution. Photo taken on May 28.
塑膠吸管體積小、重量輕,常被忽略未能回收而造成環境及海洋污染。攝於五月十八日。

Photo: Tsai Wen-chu, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者蔡文居

Three billion plastic straws are used in Taiwan every year. Assuming an average length of 18cm each, all of those straws, placed end to end, would be sufficient to encircle the Earth 13.5 times. Such a large number of disposable straws is not only a waste of resources: should these non-biodegradable straws end up in the ocean, they could cause serious pollution and damage to the ecosystem.

An Environmental Protection Administration ban on providing single-use plastic straws to customers drinking within the premises is set to go into force on July 1 next year, encouraging people to reduce the use of disposable straws or to switch to environmentally friendly ones.

The following six types of environmentally friendly straws are currently available on the market.

■ Glass straws

The crystal clear glass allows the drink’s color to be seen through the glass, and also makes it easy to see whether the interior needs cleaning. A brush is often included when purchasing these environmentally friendly straws.

The biggest inconvenience with these is their fragility; glass straws are not suitable for use by young children.

■ Stainless steel straws

Stainless steel is a very strong and durable material, so you don’t have to worry about cracks forming, but because their main ingredient is iron, there is a concern that acidic drinks such as lemon juice may cause corrosion of the inner side of the straw. In response to these problems, a toxicology expert says that, as with choosing pots, it is best to choose stainless steel conforming to the SAE 304 (or above) standard, and clean them after use.

■ Bamboo straws

Bamboo is the most common plant in Taiwan’s mountainous areas, and it is also the fastest growing plant in the world. From furniture to daily necessities, bamboo has a wide range of uses. The Yuantai bamboo goods store in Jhushan, Nantou County, uses Taiwan’s arrow bamboo to make bamboo straws. These are 100 percent biodegradable.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. plastic straw phr.

塑膠吸管 (su4 jiao1 xi1 guan3)

2. disposable adj.

拋棄式的 (pao1 qi4 shi4 de5)

3. stainless steel phr.

不鏽鋼 (bu2 xiu3 gang1)

4. sugarcane fiber phr.

甘蔗纖維 (gan1 zhe4 xian1 wei2)

5. silicone n.

矽膠 (xi4 jiao1)


■ Sugarcane straws

Young entrepreneurs at the Central Taiwan Innovation Campus in Jhongsing New Village, Nantou City, founded the brand “100 plastic free” and developed the latest environmentally friendly straws made from sugarcane fiber.

■ Silicone straws

In recent years, tableware made of “food grade silicone” has become widely available. Qualified silicone tableware products are soft and heat resistant. Compared with most of the environmentally friendly straws on the market, silicone straws are safer, more suitable for children, and easy to carry.

■ EPA plastic straws

Environmental Plastics (EPA) is an environmentally friendly plastic developed by Asian University in Taichung and green biotech companies. Its main components are clam shells and shellfish shells, finely ground, mixed with calcium carbonate, fruit enzymes, mycelium etc., and formulated into non-toxic, biodegradable plastics.

(Translated by Lin Lee-kai, Taipei Times)

台灣目前一年約用掉三十億根塑膠吸管,以一支十八公分長的吸管來計算,約可以繞地球十三圈半!大量的一次性吸管不只浪費資源,這些無法分解的塑膠吸管也可能流入海洋,造成嚴重的生態汙染。

因此環保署將在二○一九年七月起,實施「內用禁止提供塑膠吸管」的新法,鼓勵大家減少拋棄式吸管的用量,或改用環保吸管。

環保吸管怎麼選?以下介紹目前市面上常見的六種環保吸管,讓我們一起愛地球吧!

■ 玻璃吸管

晶瑩剔透的玻璃材質,讓喝飲品時也能透過玻璃看見飲料的顏色,也可以清楚看見吸管內壁是否有殘留污垢,方便清洗。(通常購買環保吸管都會附贈一隻清洗用毛刷。)

至於玻璃材質的缺點,最不方便的就是「易碎」了,因此不適合年紀較小的孩子。

■ 不鏽鋼吸管

不鏽鋼是非常堅固耐用的材質,不用擔心碎裂,但因主要成分是鐵,隱憂在於檸檬汁等酸性飲料可能會造成吸管內層的腐蝕!針對這些問題,毒物專家表示,跟選鍋具一樣,最好選擇304等級(或以上)的鋼材材質,用畢後清洗乾淨。

■ 竹子吸管

竹子是台灣山區最常見的植物種類,也是世界上生長速度最快的植物,從家具到生活用品,竹子的用途廣泛。位在南投縣竹山的元泰竹藝社便運用台灣的箭竹製成竹子吸管,百分之百可以自然分解。

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