In an era of increased climate change awareness, it’s clear that there’s not much of a future for the single-use plastic straw. Coffee chains and even whole cities have considered (or implemented) bans. Conservatives have embraced plastic straws, wielding them like a weapon with which to trigger the libs. And while paper straws seem like an easy alternative, most people who’ve used one seem unconvinced of their ability to provide consistent, satisfying sips.
Recently, a new challenger for straw supremacy has emerged. I’m talking, of course, about the pasta straw. First brought to widespread public consciousness via a viral Reddit post sent from Italy (where else?), these things look like an ingenious way to repurpose a piece of bucatini or a super-tall take on ziti. With just a little flour and water, they seem to effectively convey whatever your drinking from a glass into your mouth as long as being near gluten doesn’t freak you out.
Inevitably, companies selling this sort of straight pasta as a straw alternative have popped up with a quickness. UK company Stroodles positions the rigid pasta as an alternative to “soggy paper drinking straws”, claiming they have the strength to endure at least an hour of sipping. Their offering also decomposes “overnight”, much faster than the 30-60 days Stroodles says a paper straw needs to break down.
Watch: How to Hull Strawberries with a Straw
Given that you can’t really trademark pasta, that’s far from the only option on the market. Amazon sells multiple different brands of plastic straws, including a bulk order of 1,000 from a US-based company simply called PastaStraws for $75 (about seven cents a straw).
While it’s obviously good for the planet that these things exist, will they catch on with consumers? That big pack of pasta straws has only garnered seven Amazon reviews since June 2018, and other competitors don’t seem to have gained any more traction. That puts them far behind paper alternatives in terms of online traction.
Of course, it’s worth noting that the sustainable yet disposable nature of a pasta straw might be more suited for restaurants, bars, and cafes. Consumers who want to make a more eco-friendly straw choice at home might opt for other plastic straw alternatives, whereas it makes more sense for places who host many patrons to opt for pasta. After all, why pay for 1,000 pasta straws (and buy more once those run out) when a single metal straw can do the job?
So, yes: the pasta straw is an admirable concept, but far from a new universal standard when it comes to replacing plastic. Maybe the rigidity and biodegradability they offer compared to paper will eventually win the day, but we aren’t there yet. At least it seems like they’re a sustainable way to improve the ambience at an Italian restaurant. And for that, we say grazie.
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