Straws were invented 150 years ago because customers of restaurants and soda fountains were concerned about their lips touching a glass that another customer had previously used. These straws were made of ryegrass, hand-cut and cured by farmers that already grew rye for animal feed.
In the late 1880s, paper straws were introduced to replace ryegrass straws that were considered too mushy. In the 1960s, the plastic straw made its appearance and the rest is history. Plastic was a hot commodity at that time. It was part of the American dream.
500 million straws are used every day in the US. What are the real alternatives to plastic? Metal straws may be too expensive. Paper straws immediately become mushy. Glass straws will break if they fall.
A cocktail bar in the UK found a solution to the problem by implementing pasta straws. After getting rid of plastic straws, they started receiving complaints from customers about how paper straws went mushy after a while. They considered metal straws but the price is unrealistic. They looked at biodegradable straws but were not happy with the “lifespan” estimations, so they got creative. They brought in pasta straws!
Yes, you heard well. Pasta straws. They’re biodegradable and hold their shape better than paper straws. And the trend is taking off not only in England but also in the US. A Wisconsin restaurant, Frank’s Pizza Palace, has been using pasta straws, a/k/a “long ziti,” for years. Says the second-generation owner, Jeannie Pierri-Brice, “My dad started it…It goes back as long as I can remember. They came on a boat from Italy.”
When plastic was banned in Malibu earlier this year, Paradise Cove Beach Café came up with the idea to use bucatinipasta as a straw. The owner, Bob Morris, then took that idea and started a business called PastaStraws. These straws are now available in premium or regular and start at about $64.90 for 1,000 straws or $6.90 for a sample of 24 straws.
While pasta straws will be great for the average population, they still present a challenge for those who are allergic to wheat or have celiac disease. For those with these conditions, PastaStraws is already in the process of making a gluten-free version.
So, are you ready to make the switch from plastic to pasta?! Check out their website here: www.pastastraws.org