It's just a small straw that stumps the drinking industry?
With the implementation of the plastic restriction order, most of the beverage shops in Beijing have replaced plastic straws, but the quality of the alternative paper straws is uneven, easy to soak, paper scraps and other problems are frequently complained by consumers, and some stores have even replaced them. Back to the ordinary plastic straws. Why is a small straw stumping the huge drinking industry?
Poor experience of paper straws was rejected
"The happiness of a cup of milk tea used to last for two hours, but now I have to drink it within half an hour after changing a paper straw, otherwise the straw will be so soft that I can't suck it at all." said Xiao Liu, a college student in Beijing. Since the implementation of the "Strongest Plastic Restriction Order" this year, tea and beverage companies have abandoned disposable plastic straws, and most companies have chosen to use paper straws instead. However, since its launch, paper straws have been "disliked" by consumers everywhere. On social media, there are more and more discussion papers about "paper straws", and the complaints gradually overshadow the support for environmental protection. Some netizens even said, "Drinking straws suddenly spread out", "Using paper straws to drink milk tea like gnawing toilet paper" "Paper straws made me quit milk tea successfully".
The poor drinking experience with paper straws even led to a slight decline in the business of some milk tea shops. In order to meet the needs of consumers, some milk tea shops quietly used disposable plastic straws. The reporter noticed that disposable plastic straws can still be seen on the counter of a tea shop in Sanlitun. "The biodegradable plastic straws have not arrived yet." The store staff explained.
In addition to the poor drinking experience, the cost of paper straws is much higher, and the replacement of paper straws seems a bit reluctant for companies, which also makes many milk tea shops lack the motivation to replace them.
High cost of biodegradable plastic straws
The reporter learned from a domestic paper-plastic packaging company that, in addition to paper straws, the common environmentally friendly straws on the market are PLA biodegradable plastic straws with PBS added. The heat distortion temperature of the pure PLA straw is about 65°C. After adding high temperature resistant PBS material, the temperature can reach between minus 10°C and 80°C, which can basically meet the drinking needs of milk tea, and the taste is also better than that of paper straws. better.
But the cost of this straw is also higher. According to the person in charge of the company, taking the conventional milk tea straws with a diameter of 1.1 cm and a length of 23 cm on the market as an example, the cost of paper straws is usually within 0.1 yuan, but the cost of PLA straws with PBS ingredients is around 0.16 yuan. Moreover, the raw material output of such petrochemical-based plastics is very small, and the supply is often in short supply. According to the person in charge of a large domestic fast food chain company, the annual increase in cost is expected to reach 10 million yuan only if the straw is replaced.
Disorderly competition and high costs in the biodegradable product market make businesses face difficult choices. In this regard, some experts suggest that beverage shops change the product packaging to a cup lid with a mouthpiece; or change the drink formula so that consumers can still get a good taste without a straw.
Stainless steel straws are quietly popular online
In fact, from the perspective of the product itself, paper products are indeed more environmentally friendly than disposable plastic products. From the perspective of product life cycle, paper products may cause more water and electricity consumption, environmental pollution and carbon emissions during the production, consumption, and abandonment process. In order to find better alternatives, reusable stainless steel straws on online shopping platforms have gradually attracted consumers' attention in recent times. The reporter noticed that the monthly sales of many 304 stainless steel straws exceeded 1,000. "Orders have been rising this year, several times more than last year." said a customer service staff of an online store.
In addition to the thinner straws that were common in the past, many online shops now have new stainless steel straws with a diameter of about 1.1 cm, suitable for drinking milk tea, and a plastic or stainless steel straw storage box, which is convenient for consumers to carry. Judging from the product evaluation, many consumers buy this kind of straws to replace paper straws. Many people leave a message saying that after purchasing stainless steel straws, they have gradually developed the habit of not using disposable straws.
Packaging companies and tea companies should strive to improve the quality of alternative products, but the core of the use of plastic products is "disposable", not the plastic itself. "Compared to replacing other materials, we should strive to abandon the disposable consumer culture and make the best use of everything. This is an environmentally friendly lifestyle."