Why Sipster eliminates PLA

A year and a half ago, we started with the idea to sell bamboo straws as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws. Since then we have made many steps, both forward and sideways, which resulted in a platform for which we select and develop a wide variety of sustainable alternatives for single-use plastic straws, from reusable straws to straws that you can actually eat! Our aim is to make life easier for our customers by selecting and developing environmental friendly drinking accessories, so that customers know that we offer them the quality and clarity they need.

Over time, we reflect on the range of straws that we offer and whether they meet the sustainability criteria and needs of the users. We base this reflection on direct and indirect feedback from our customers, talking to users (the customers of our customers), input from our partners, and talking to bars and restaurants who don’t use our straws. Based on this reflection, we have decided to slim our product range down by eliminating the PLA straws, and here's why...

First, some of you may be asking what is a PLA straw? PLA stands for polyactic acid which is made from renewable resources, such as corn or potato starch as opposed to petroleum based plastic. They are also biodegrabable, which means that they are capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. Because they are derived from natural ingredients and biodegradable one would assume that they are a sustainable alternative and good for the environment. However, this is not always the case, can be very misleading, and is being used as a very clever but deceptive advertising tool to the hospitality sector and the general public who genuinelly believe they are doing the right environmental thing by switching to PLA straws.

In fact, biodegradable PLA products still have a negative impact on our environment. PLA is biodegradable, but in order to do so PLA straws need to be composted under very strict and specific conditions. PLA can be disposed of in various ways and none of these ways is very sustainable. As many consumers don’t see the difference between PLA and plastic, PLA can end up with conventional plastic waste. As PLA is not recyclable, this leads to contamination of the regular recycling process whereby PLA reduces the quality of the recycled plastics. If PLA ends up with green waste, it often goes to a composting facility where the PLA could be turned into compost. However, due to its high requirements for its composting conditions (high temperature for a long period of time) it puts a lot of stress on the commercial composting facilities. The worst destination where PLA can end up is our environment, and unfortunately this is where a lot of straws do end up. Did you know that in our environment, PLA takes almost the same time to degrade as conventional plastic?

As PLA straws become a problem for our environment after its use, they are not a sustainable solution for the world’s plastic problem. That’s why Sipster has decided to eliminate PLA from our product range.

At the same time, we have introduced Biorix® straws to our platform. Biorix® can be made from renewable resources and is compostable without the need of a composting facility. The big difference with PLA is that Biorix® straws are designed to compost within 6 months in your home compost bin. In case you don’t have your own home compost bin, you can dispose the Biorix® straws with your green waste so that they can easily be turned into compost. We have added Biorix® straws to our product range in a recognizable green color, to make sure that people know that it is not conventional plastic but belongs with the green waste.

We aim to offer sustainable straws, from the perspective of social and environmental impact. We want to do this in a way that makes it easy for our clients to pick the best solution, both for them and for the global battle against single-use plastic straws. That requires us to keep looking for sustainable solutions and also reflecting on our own steps (and where we can improve).

Our mission is to make sustainable straws the status quo in the world by 2030! Are you ready to join the fight?

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