Wed, Sep 19, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Drinking responsibly: non-plastic straws

Plastic straws are small and light, but are often not recycled, which can cause environmental and marine pollution. Photo taken on May 28.

Photo: Tsai Wen-chu, Liberty Times

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.


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)




■ 玻璃吸管



■ 不鏽鋼吸管


■ 竹子吸管


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