What is your drinking straw made of?
In recent years it was probably some form of plastic but with the growing concern over the impact plastics are having on our local and global environment these are gradually being phased out.
In their place biodegradable straws made from paper have been introduced by most of the leading suppliers and restaurant chains such as McDonalds and Costa Coffee.
Now scientists have unlocked the secret formula to make straws out of…er…straw. The scientists have discovered the way to transform this humble and completely natural product into a bio plastic that breaks down naturally. It’s also not just straws that could be made this way as only 5 percent of the annual straw yield or 3 percent of the sugar beet crops would allow half of the 17 billion plastic water bottles used annually in the United Kingdom to be manufactured using the new material.
The new bio plastic is made from Lignin, the rigid material that keeps trees and plants standing upright. The research was undertaken at York University and Warwick University – who expect the process to deliver large scale bio plastics on to the marketplace within five years time.