Straws 2021: paper, PLA, bamboo fiber, glass, stainless steel, rice...

Straw 2021: paper, PLA, bamboo fiber, glass, stainless steel, rice...

When we are going to start discussing environmental protection, we are going to start discussing paper straws.

After all, although there are many things related to environmental protection, but as small as a paper straw, there are not many that attract people so much attention. There is no other reason. The ‘crimes’ of the paper straws of the star contestants in the straws are really exhausted.

▲ The pilot did not provide straws after McDonald's paper straws were spit out
From the perspective of taste, the existence of paper straws makes people completely lose the joy of biting straws. It turned out that it can still be used after a bite, but now it softens with just one bite and cannot absorb more and more new tea ingredients. From the experience of use, it has too much influence on the taste of the drink, and it will have a pulpy smell over time.

What's even more outrageous is that everyone has endured the degradation of the experience for the sake of environmental protection. As a result, the paper straws are not so environmentally friendly. The paper straws that McDonald's once launched have caused a lot of criticism. Among many complaints, McDonald's had to thicken the straws and then thicken them. After being thickened, the paper materials that were originally recyclable are also difficult to be recycled by garbage disposal companies.

I made sacrifices, but paper straws are not so environmentally friendly, so why should I use paper straws that are difficult to use?

▲ The difficulty of the paper straw has no bottom line, it may even be integrated with tea
In this case, those brands that unswervingly use paper straws have been spontaneously resisted by users. In the discussion boom of paper straws, more and more brands have changed their straws to PLA straws. PLA polylactic acid straws are truly environmentally friendly straws, which can be decomposed by organisms, even if they are incinerated, they will not produce harmful substances to the human body.

The best thing is that for consumers, the use of PLA straws is very close to that of plastic straws. It is environmentally friendly and also takes into account the experience. Of course, the PLA straw is not without its shortcomings. It is not conducive to long-term storage. Long-term storage will cause the straw to become brittle, and it does not support hot drinks, which puts forward higher requirements for the process management of the entire supply chain.

But in general, the PLA straw is a straw product that combines environmental protection and user experience. So Starbucks has launched straws made of PLA and coffee grounds as raw materials in more than 850 stores in Shanghai since last month, which are both distinctive and environmentally friendly.

▲ Starbucks’ ‘ground waste pipe’ is made of coffee grounds and
But in general, the environmental protection of these straws is ‘limited’. Shuangtong straws is a brand that has been making straws for 27 years. Li Erqiao, who is in charge of the Shuangtong straws section, said that'the best environmental protection is to use less disposable straws', because no matter what kind of environmentally friendly straws, the upstream production industry chain will Produce a certain amount of pollution.

Shuangtong’s glass straws and stainless steel straws are non-disposable straws. Although they are not disposable products, they can be kept clean and hygienic under the cleaning of the matching brush + disinfection, but this is not very popular in the domestic consumer market. Shuangtong's glass straws and stainless steel straws are generally sold to cup manufacturers as a set, and only have a certain degree of recognition in foreign consumer markets.

▲ Shuangtong stainless steel straws
For Shanghai Yifengyuan Supply Chain Management Co., Ltd. to make environmentally friendly tableware, straws originally only accounted for a small part of their business. But today, when the outside world pays more and more attention to straws, they have also decided to spend more effort to promote bamboo fiber straws. Similar fiber straws will use different raw materials such as sugar cane fiber, coffee fiber, bamboo fiber, etc., so that the straw made will be more stable.

The cost of a bamboo straw with a similar name to bamboo fiber will be higher because its raw material is bamboo, which needs to be formed into a straw shape by hot pressing. Therefore, high-cost bamboo straws are not suitable for single-use straws. However, due to the characteristics of bamboo, bamboo straws are also a straw with a limited number of uses. If a certain frequency is exceeded, the use experience will be drastically reduced.

Bamboo fiber straws. Picture from: YOLLY
Yifengyuan Company also introduced us a straw that looks very environmentally friendly, but is actually more harmful to the environment than plastic-cornstarch straws.

The material of corn starch, it only complies with the current environmental protection policy, but it cannot be completely degraded. It is still a plastic in nature, but its plastic particles will be relatively small, but there will still be some indecomposable particles. These particles are smaller and more difficult to decompose, and the subsequent collection and processing will be very troublesome.

There are also Korean rice straws that sound environmentally friendly, but this straw using rice flour and tapioca flour is really environmentally friendly, but it is still relatively rare in China. Li Erqiao said that rice straws are facing a standard problem. The Chinese national standard still lags behind the specification of this new material. It needs to be approved by the health department before mass production can be put into the market.

▲ Korean rice straws can be used directly as rice noodles and fried

If you are interested, you can actually make original plant stem straws at home. The production process is very simple. You only need to choose natural plant materials that are naturally "straight and straight outside", such as lotus leaf stems and celery stalks. You can even use green onions and cut off the ends of the head and tail to make it. Natural environmental protection and degradable plant stem straw.

There are so many materials for    straws, but it is not difficult for the merchants to choose, because the cost is there.

An employee of a straw manufacturer revealed that under the wave of environmental protection, most businesses choose paper straws for a reason, because their cost is much lower than other environmentally friendly straws. The price of a plastic straw is less than 0.04 yuan, and the price of a paper straw is more than double that of a plastic straw. You may not be able to buy one at 0.09 yuan. The cost of PLA straws commonly used in modern tea drinks is about four times that of plastic straws. It’s about 0.15 yuan per piece, and the cost of a more natural fiber straw has even risen to 0.2 yuan per piece.

PLA biodegradable environmentally friendly straws are very costly
The price of paper straws is 2~3 times that of plastic straws. PLA straws are more expensive than plastic straws. The most expensive ones are glass straws and stainless steel straws.

The factors affecting China's domestic and overseas straw orders are also very different. Under the wave of environmental protection, overseas markets are forcing the market to choose more environmentally friendly straws, and the domestic market will have more policy influence factors.

The sales of environmentally friendly straws are directly linked to the promotion of plastic restrictions. Most of their customers are concentrated in the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. In areas where plastic restrictions are not implemented and regulated, few brands will actively choose environmentally friendly straws. After Hainan launched a strict ‘plastic ban’ last year, their company’s orders in Hainan have also increased a lot.

▲ The sales of environmental protection straws have a lot to do with the intensity of market supervision. Picture from: China Economic Herald
At the time of the most stringent market supervision, many of their customers replaced their straws with PLA environmentally friendly straws, but this year they quietly switched back to plastic straws. As long as the market is not strictly regulated, brand merchants will naturally choose the lowest cost method. However, there are exceptions.

In those areas that receive the most attention, even if the regulatory authorities do not care, the brand will be determined to use environmentally friendly straws. This is the case in the new tea drink market. After the topic of environmental protection has slightly reduced, and paper straws have been complained about, many brands have also chosen PLA straws or plant fiber straws.

▲ NetEase Wenchuang has done a straw evaluation. Picture from: Haohao Life Office
However, the cost of new straws is so high, and the rising cost of raw materials is also one of the reasons. Li Erqiao said that if the material cost of PLA straws can fall back to the level of two years ago, the price difference between PLA straws and plastic straws will not be so big.

Its original price may have increased from more than 10,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan a ton, and suddenly rose to nearly 40,000, which is equivalent to doubling. Under this circumstance, the price of its products has also increased substantially, which is a great challenge for market promotion.

So far, this cost price has not been trending down for the time being.

Rising raw materials for PLA straws pushed up costs. Picture from: Marketing Line 4

Today, straws are no longer just straws. In addition to sucking things, people expect them to see the values and choices represented by the straws. In the most competitive market, changing the packaging and launching a new product can create a lot of growth. Choosing a new straw can also trigger a lot of discussion.

It can even be said that a lot of attention caused by paper straws has made it impossible for a highly competitive market such as new tea to embrace plastic straws.

The straw straw invented by Japanese college students entered the beverage store and even attracted many people to check in for the straw.

▲ HAYAMI straw straw
In the period when the paper straws were the most fiercely complained by users, Hey Tea, the first to replace the PLA straws, also ushered in a group of customers who checked in to experience the new straws.

When small objects such as straws are also eye-catching enough, the brand will also use new straws to help strengthen its brand image and gain outside attention. As far as the new tea drinks are currently being introduced into new tricks, I will not be surprised to introduce tea fiber, vegetable and fruit fiber straws in the future.

After all, as long as your innovation is new enough, consumers will have enough motivation to check in.



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