The first biodegradable paper straws factory opens in the UK.
As the UK moves forward with its project to ban single-use plastic products, the first paper straw factory in decades opens to meet consumer demand.
Transcend Packaging, the owner and operator of the new plant, has already reached out to 1,361 McDonald’s restaurants across the UK, as well as a few other restaurant chains, to supply straws in a more environmentally friendly way.
"We saw a great opportunity and we seized it," Mark Varney, Transcend Packaging's director of sales and marketing, told The Guardian, this idea came after the BBC's Blue Planet II was on TV and the government started talking. From the dangers of plastic straws, in this way the idea was presented in the market, due to the change in British plastic policy, that niche could soon become a national industry.
Even before the national plastics ban, companies were inclined to use more environmentally friendly products, although the purchase of these products was not necessarily sustainable. "It's great that all of these companies are phasing out plastic straws, but the problem for them was where to get the paper ones," Varney said.
"Everybody has to import them from China, and when you look at the carbon footprint of that purchase, your benefit is eliminated." Thus was born the Transcend Packaging factory. Varney continued: "We created this company to give customers what they really want: biodegradable paper straws made in the UK."
Although paper straws are more expensive than plastic ones, there are numerous benefits that are not reflected in the purchase price. For example, “McDonald’s understood the huge difference to the environment,” Varney said, and hugged a paper straw to strengthen its public image by helping to reduce pollution.
The Mexican company Biofase has done its bit by creatingstraws that degrade in 240 days with the avocado seed and not in almost 100 years like the plastic ones.
The one-of-a-kind bioplastic plant, based in Michoacán, was born in 2012, whenScott Munguía, a Chemical Engineering student at Tecnológico de Monterrey, realized that thanks to the properties of avocado seeds, they can be transformed into biodegradable plastic.
Although tests were also made on seeds of fruits such as mamey or mango, none contained the necessary element.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) launched the Clean Seas campaign in Indonesia, raising awareness of the threat that plastic straws pose to ecosystems and species.
According to UNEP, in the last 50 years the world production of plastics has multiplied 20 times, about 320 million tons in that period, of which 8 million reached the oceans.
The Ministry of the Environment (Semarnat) joined the global efforts through the campaign "No straw is fine", to inform society about the environmental impact of these products and reduce their consumption.
The campaign spreads phrases like"A single NO can save millions of species"Say no to the use of the straw ”,"At our table for 20 minutes, in our seas for 100 years".
What Biofase does is extract the molecule from the avocado seed, it is synthesized to become a biopolymer, it is molded and biodegradable plastic is obtained.
Currently, the company generates 130 tons of biodegradable product per month. Of these, 80% are for export and 40% are straws.
For all its products, I consume 15 tons of avocado seed per day.
Most of the product is shipped to the United States under the Avoplant brand,Canada, Costa Rica, Colombia and Peru.
With information from: