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Korean scientists invented 100% biodegradable straws that don’t get soggy, even in prolonged contact with drinks.

Scientists at the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology (KRICT) developed strong and fully biodegradable paper straws.

According to TreeHugger, the straws can easily be mass-produced and are great for users who want a rigid straw. 

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“Changing consumer habits and weaning the world off straws would be the best-case scenario (with an exception for those who rely on straws for health and other reasons). But in the meantime, a truly biodegradable straw that can stand up to the complaints of plastic-straw lovers could make a difference. Who can lament that the eco-radicals have come for the straws when there’s a perfectly viable, eco-friendly replacement?”

Single-use paper straws are harmful to sea animals. They are rarely recycled because of their small size; it’s difficult to collect them, and they are non-degradable. Renouncing plastic straws became a rallying point for environmentalists, thanks to the picture of a sea turtle with a straw submerged in its nose. Nowadays, we have wide bans on plastic straws.

However, most paper straws are coated with polyethylene (PE) or acrylic resin, which are also used to make plastic bags. This coating disintegrates into small particles but isn’t 100% decomposed and becomes microplastics. 

The new straws rely on PBS, a biodegradable material. Scientists added a small amount of cellulose nanocrystals to the coating, which makes them plant fiber and completely biodegradable. Best of all, they don’t get soggy in cold or hot drinks, even with prolonged contact with liquids.

Marina is passionate about sustainability and works to help ensure our planet stays as our home for a long time. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and not buying single-use plastic. When not writing, she can be found with her nose stuck in a book or trying out new baking recipes.

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