Using pineapple leaves to make organic straws that replace paper and plastic straws
Image credit: Photo by Christopher from Pexels
Contrived _voiceMar 23, 2022
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Processing pineapple leaves to make straws. The straws can be eaten by fish if they end up in the ocean or decay naturally when thrown outside. This way you minimize plastic pollution while making use of a resource that would otherwise be thrown away.
Plastic straws add to the growing heaps of landfills and choke aquatic animals when they end up in the sea or any other large water body.
Paper straws are good for the environment but they tear apart as you use them. The design is not very human.
A plant-based straw could fix both problems by being tougher and easily disposable without cost to the planet.
How it works
If you've ever cut the tubes in a car engine or gas cooker you will notice the inside has a rextile lining . This lining is used because it makes it harder for fluids to leak out through it's really small pores. It is possible to harvest pinapple leaves and dry them like sisal leaves to get fibres. These fibres can then be weaved to form a really watertight tube.
All that remains is a way to make it hard without contaminating the organic fibre. To do this we need to go to the past. Modern resins are coupled with silane to improve composite properties, this would make the straw strong but toxic too. Pre 1950's however, they used glass-filled composites that deteriorated after exposure to atmospheric moisture over time.
This isn't a problem for us since straws are single use and once thrown away the composite can deteriorate away and the fibres can decompose leaving nothing behind.
Darko Savic noticed pineapple straws already exist, so here are a couple of other fruit wastes that also fit the mould.
Coconuts come to mind first ,the hard outer shells of coconuts could be processed for fiber in a similar manner. The fibres could then be turned into straws by mixing with corn starch and hardening.
The second best choice would be passion fruits. They are really popular as fruit drinks in most parts of the world and naturally, they are produced in a hard outer shell with the fruit inside. This outer shell can be processed for fibers although they will be really short.
The solution is to combine the fibers with polylactic acid before shaping them into straws and letting them harden in this form. Polylactic acid is also biodegradable so the entire straw is still biodegradable
I think basically any fruit or plant waste with a high enough cellulose content could be converted into straws