6 reasons to give rice straws a chance
Calling all eco consumers: Rice straws — a sturdier alternative to single-use paper straws — are growing in popularity across Asia. Tamir Feldmann explains why
Of all the weird and wonderful superfoods out there in the world, rice would probably be the last commodity to pop up in that category. I am here to challenge you to add rice to the repertoire of superfoods, not just for its nutritional values but for the zero-waste hero it truly is.
Following the recent single-use plastic ban in Europe, paper straws are in high demand. Although paper straws aren’t quite the perfect alternative. I am here to entice you to give rice straws a chance!
Why you ask? Here are some reasons why:
1. Rice straws are a zero-waste product
We produce our rice straws from broken rice grains that are collected from previous crops which would otherwise go to waste. A true zero-waste superhero.
2. They can be customised in a plethora of ways whilst remaining chemical free
Ecohero uses only 100% natural plant-based colouring to customise its straws. Vegetables such as spinach for the colour green, carrots for orange, and beetroot for purple. They are allergen-free and absolutely safe for kids. Many single-use straw alternatives are held together with glue, causing you to ingest chemicals whilst drinking your favourite drink. Rice straws are glue free and moulded in a steadfast and sturdy shape.
3. They are edible
Rice straws are made of 70% rice and 30% tapioca, making them completely edible.
Not to mention being fun to eat, imagine rainbow rice straw noodles! (Why not pasta straws you say? Pasta straws are a strong contender to rice straws but they are not gluten-free.)
4. Rice straws degrade in days
Unlike plastic and bioplastics that can take almost 500 years to degrade, rice straws require less than 60 days. They make the perfect fertiliser and won’t end up killing innocently hungry sea creatures!
5. They hold their shape, no matter how long you nurse that drink
Rice straws are sturdy and last up to one hour before they start warping. Regardless, they remain functional for an additional one to two hours, allowing you plenty of time to enjoy that drink.
6. Rice straws are a rising star in Asia for a unique reason
The Balinese in Indonesia are embracing rice straws because it is a local product, and India is seeing a steep incline in its use as a straw alternative. Keeping the usual, eco-friendly reasons aside, these sustainably savvy users have started using rice straws as an alternative to noodles. Just boil, marinate and enjoy! Don’t believe me?
Are rice straws really as perfect as I’m making them out to be?
I would be lying to you if I said yes. Producing rice straws is expensive, about 50% more expensive than paper straws. And no one else bears the brunt of a price increase more than yourself, the consumer.
There is also the issue of carbon footprint. Rice straws are produced exclusively in Asia and therefore need to be shipped over to Europe. However, as a consumer, you might need two to three paper straws just to finish one beverage, contributing to the already excessive waste that single-use plastics cause. The use of these additional paper straws thus costs the same amount one would pay for a single rice straw.
Rice straws are a great alternative if you are considering a plastic-free alternative, just make sure you are buying them from a reputable source or manufacturer that rewards their employees fairly and gives back to their community.