TRY AND SHARE - Eatable straws, you said?
To finish Plastic-free July 2020 I wanted to share with you my latest Try and Share test: an eatable straw from the German company Wisefood, going under the name of Superhalm.
Plastic straws have been one of the key, easy and totally justified targets of the plastic-ban campaigns and latest policies throughout the world. So of course one could already wonder why even checking alternatives to plastic versions rather than removing them entirely? I mean, a drink can be drunk without a straw, irrespective of the age, and even brands like Starbucks have modified the design of their cold drinks to now function without.
But when I saw the Superhalm straw in the middle of the sea of plastic-based picnic stuff sold at Migros, I found it so suspiciously nice that I had to give it a try, for the sake of science and especially the sake of OUTSIDE THE BOX. And this time the test was even a cooperative one as we had adults and kids try to use and eat the straws over a nice dinner with friends.
The straw is mostly based on wheat and apple fibre, which you will actually taste as it has a slight sour flavour and a strong apple after-taste. It pretty much has the same consistency has pasta, just imagine a long, dark penne from which you would drink a coktail, for instance. You might know someone who gobbles uncooked pasta once in a while (I have at least one at home), the cracking effect will be the same.
The instructions recommend to use the straw "business as usual" for at least 20 minutes before biting in it. They also advise you not to use the Superhalm with fizzy drinks as the chemical reaction with its ingredients might make your drink flood. For the test we only had water, so it was not the most exciting context compared to a cocktail, but it was sufficient. We also only had small glasses, meaning that mostly the tip was
We waited a while, until the straw got properly imerged - it would probably work better with a long drink.
Conclusions of the test:
the taste of your drink is not affected after all; I think the impression is mostly in one's mind compared to a plastic, tasteless straw. HOWEVER! I would probably suggest to use the Superhalm for juices or cocktails rather than soft-flavoured drinks (man, how can one describe in simple words the consistency and taste, for instance, of a chocolate milk?!)
the straw's consistency is a little disturbing, but mostly because it is a new one compared to plastic one. I am sure that it will be no problem on the long term to drink with it.
the straw takes quite some time to get soft enough to then be crunched and eaten. It is absolutely weird I have to say, and the taste is not that great: it does taste sour with this apple after-taste mentioned earlier. I mean, it is not totally bad, but it could also be much better. I guess this is what you get from eating a product without any extra-added flavours, sugars, salts and more. But needless to say, no one on the table ate the straw entirely, a bite for the experiment was enough.
So, you end up with an eatable straw that you do not want to eat: what do you do? Well the consensus was there: you compost it. But let's talk pragmatically: I doubt any bar will make the effort to separate such a straw from regular waste, and chances are high it ends up directly in a regular bin, like food waste.
Apart from straws Wisefood also sells eatable spoons (for example for ice cream) and stirrers for your coffee, and most of these options are actually sold out on the website. And if I would do without straw anyway, by default, I totally commend the work of the company for its R&D efforts and positive impact again single-use plastic waste.
(But if you are in Zug and want to try, please let me know: I have now a bag of eatable straws that I am not going to use...)