Italy's Eco-friendly Pasta Straws
In 2019 when the European Union voted to phase out single-use plastics, member nations turned to alternative options for straws. Around the world, metal, paper, or bamboo straws replaced the plastic variety, but in Italy, they came up with a unique, quintessentially Italian option—pasta.
The Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research identified the amount of plastic littering the coastline as the nation’s most pressing environmental challenge. With the help of fishermen, the institute found that Italian beaches have approximately “500 to 1,000 items of garbage every 100 meters.” The fishermen even reported catching more pieces of plastic in their nets than fish.
Apart from garbage washing ashore on formerly pristine beaches, single-use plastics in the Mediterranean have also generated concern for the native marine life.
To do their part with creating sustainable alternatives, bars in Italy turned to a plentiful resource—pasta. Unlike paper straws that quickly get soggy, pasta straws are better equipped to deal with moisture.
The concept is simple: use egg-free pasta dough to create a bucatini-shaped noodle with a hole big enough for the liquid to pass through.
Dried pasta has been commonplace in Italy since the 1300s and was a logical selection as an alternative to plastic straws. The pasta straws are much more environmentally friendly than paper, plastic, and other manufactured materials that require the shipment of materials worldwide, which leads to a higher carbon footprint.
According to the Center for Ocean Solutions, although straws account for less than one percent of plastic waste, due to their small size they can clog machinery at recycling facilities and ultimately end up in landfills where they take more than 200 years to decompose.
Not only are pasta straws eco-friendly, but they’re also vegan, biodegradable, and a fun conversation starter.