We’re not entirely sure when the world decided it couldn’t do, or drink, without a straw, but they have become a firm feature and symbol of the world’s addiction to single-use plastics. Not so at Thalias. We are delighted to announce that following tests with a range of environmentally sustainable options, we are now using sustainably produced, biodegradable grass straws across all of our outlets.
These straws are made from a natural grass called grey sedge (lepironia articulata in Latin) that grows along the Mekong. Traditionally used for making floor mats and hats, it turns out that these naturally hollow grasses can also be collected, cleaned, dried and cut to create the perfect drinking straw that meets hospitality standards, and won’t leave the planet with a raging environmental hangover from all our late nights out.
The grass straws have other benefits too, as they are already helping farmers to realise a better income from their land than traditional rice farming.
Getting rid of plastic straws is just one small but nonetheless essential step in reducing the global reliance on single-use plastics. To give you a small idea of how grave this problem has become, here are a few statistics from the UN.
Around the world, we purchase ONE MILLION plastic drinking bottles, EVERY MINUTE.
FIVE TRILLION single-use plastic bags are used every year.
We produce 300 MILLION TONS of plastic waste every year (roughly equivalent to the weight of every human being combined).
Our output of plastic waste rose more in the 2000s than in the entire previous four decades.
Only 9% of all plastic waste has been recycled. Twelve percent has been incinerated, while the remaining 79% has ended up in landfills, dumps, the oceans, or drifting along the side of the road.
The Mekong is one of the most heavily plastic-polluted rivers in the world, carrying 33,431 tons of plastic waste out to the sea every year. Stunningly, the Yangtze spews out 1,469,481 tons of plastic each year, more than 61% of the world’s total.
If these trends continue, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050.
Effective waste management is something we can all play a part in, in ways large and small.