A user of the American discussion platform Reddit posted a photo of a straw made of pasta last week. He was served this in his drink during his holiday. "Here in Italy, more and more cafés are starting to use pasta straws instead of plastic," the post says. Ironically, the straw was in a plastic cup. Where exactly the photo was taken in Italy is unclear, but there's a good chance it was in a small pub in Naples called Na Beer, or the Cinecittà Bar in Bernalda. In any case, it is known about those occasions through social media posts that they let their guests drink from pasta straws.
Maxim Gelmann, founder of the British company Stroodles, is responsible for the pasta straws contained in the Italian drinks. The product has now been developed to such an extent that most teething problems have been removed. For example, the pasta does not affect the taste of the drink it is in, the straws in a hot drink last for twenty minutes before they go limp and in a cold drink even longer than an hour. They can be stored for up to three years and are comparable in price to good quality paper straws. After use, they can simply go in the green click, because they are completely biodegradable.
Gelmann wants to inspire the world with his "stroodles", he says. "With these straws you can easily do something good," he explains on his website. The straws are selected by hand: if one does not meet the quality requirements, according to Gelmann it will be donated to the food bank.
Earlier this year, the British tried to recruit an investor for his company through the popular entrepreneurial program Dragon's Den on BBC 2. But here he was told that he was not yet able to convey well enough what exactly the impact of his straws on the environment, while that is the spearhead. Deborah Meaden, a successful British businesswoman with a great passion for environmentally friendly products, sat on the panel and pointed out to the entrepreneur that he should have the facts and figures clear in that area. He did not receive an investment proposal and is therefore not yet able to really grow his company.
Another downside of the stroodles: they contain gluten. And nowadays quite a few people are allergic to it. Gelmann straws are made from durum wheat, a hard wheat variety with a large hard grain. The inventor says he is working hard on a gluten-free variant, but it is the gluten that ensures that the straw stays hard in the drinks, so that is difficult.
If you do have gluten-free and sustainable straws in the range, the Dutch company ECO Wheat - Straws makes hay straws. The Ocean Cleanup sees a future in this. “We Dutchies are using 8 million straws a day. That is 123 straws per day, per hospitality entrepreneur. Join us and help tackle this global problem, start banning plastic and start saving our oceans, ”ECO Wheat - Straws reports on its own website.
But the question remains whether the pasta straws or the straw variants will definitely take over the market. Paper straws had previously been developed in an attempt to replace the plastic, but they soon became soft and unusable. Or metal straws, although better than plastic, but difficult to clean and expensive to purchase and produce.