On July 9, 2018, Starbucks, the largest coffee chain shop in the world announced that they would completely discontinue using plastic straw after 2022. This news caused a big shock in the whole world.
According to the investigation, humankind consumes about 500 million plastic straws every year. As it’s an act that may contribute to the environmental protection, many others brands like Ikea, MacDonald are also trying to stop using the plastic straws.
However, abandoning the most commonly used plastic straw means we have to find some other substitues. Besides the cup lid for direct drinking, the most anticipated alternatives is the paper straw.
Compared with the plastic straw, the paper one has their own advantages:
I Paper straw is much more degradable
Plastic is such a basic material in our daily life that most of us cannot imagine our life without it. However, while we are enjoying the convenience that plastic brings to us, we also have to recognize the environmental pollutions caused by this material. Plastic is difficult to degrade, and most plastic products will eventually enter to the ocean, causing serious water pollution and killing marine life. That´s why we need the paper straw which can be degraded in 3 to 4 months buried in earth.
II Paper straw can be more beautiful
The plastic straw is usually transparent, white, striped and just has one single color. But the paper one has many different design and can be much more beautiful.
Paper is a material easy to color, and pigments can show a perfect status on the paper. For some restaurants, a good looking paper straw can even increase their sales.
But each coin has two sides, so the paper straw also has its disadvanteges:
Its cost is higher than plastic straw
Due to the mature technology and market, the plastic straw can be produced at lower cost than the paper one. To product a qualified paper straw and make it last in water for a longer time, those manufacturers have to add more additives.
That’s why the plastic straw is more competitive in the market. Companies always want to spend the lesat amount of money to earn the most profit, so the cheaper plastic straw is obviously a better choice.
Therefore, it may take some time before the paper straw can be popularized. Before that the plastic straw will still dominate the market. However, those companies in the paper making industry will have a big opportunity to develop themselves.