As inoffensive as they may look, plastic straws are having a disastrous impact on the planet.
Making their way into the world's waters (and usually into the stomachs of unsuspecting wildlife), the unnecessary drink-aids have been under attack in recent years from various campaigns aiming to kill our plastic habit for good.
But today, one startup has come up with a solution to help us sip down our cocktails with no consequences for the environment: edible straws.
The company, called Loliware, is in the process of developing a bio-degradable straw that can be eaten directly after use or composted with your other food waste.
As one of the start-up's founders Chelsea Briganti explains to the Fast Company, this may be the perfect compromise for consumers. She says:
"We’re providing [the consumer] a solution to the plastic straw crisis while also giving them a fun experience on top of that. It’s not about the consumer sacrificing anymore, it’s about the consumer having fun and being sustainable at the same time."
The next-generation straws are made from a new seaweed-based material that can be flavored and is designed to add a little something to your cold beverage. They have a shelf-life of up to 24 months and will break down just as fast as other food waste. If you keep them in liquid, however, they'll dissolve in just 24 hours.
As Loliware co-founder Leigh Ann Tucker notes, they "really feel like plastic". Planning to target venues that hand out the most straws – such as stadiums and coffee shops – the company is set to roll out a choice between caramel, mango or chocolate-flavored straws.
In case you needed any more convincing, it's worth bearing in mind that over a billion straws are thrown away every day around the world and 1.5 million marine animals die each year after ingesting plastic.