These Edible Straws Harness Nature to Replace Single-Use Plastic and Help Local Farmers

Harnessing raw nature to replace single-use plastics, Equo Straws has launched with a 100% biodegradable and compostable straw using natural ingredients sourced from local farming communities.

Unveiled on May 18 on Kickstarter, they hit their funding goal within 30 days and intend to produce four flavors of eco-friendly straws through the company’s innovative use of materials from nature.

Tran-Vu, who previously worked in brand management for consumer goods companies like Unilever, LG, and Bacardi, was inspired to build a sustainable future for her nephew while working to support local economic growth and job creation in her parents’ hometown in Vietnam.

“Traveling the world and seeing the massive amount of plastic in the forests, oceans, and beaches breaks my heart,” she said. “I really want future generations to have a chance at experiencing a better Earth. Also, after returning to Vietnam, I wanted to create jobs for local farming communities and give them a steady income.”

The multi-colored Equo Straws’ product line includes four choices with unique characteristics, described as follows:

1) Coconut Straws – Made from fermented coconut water, offering a tropical twist on an everyday product, and available in ivory white with a cool textured design.

2) Rice Straws – Made from rice and tapioca starch and available in plant-based, natural colors including white, green, pink, blue, yellow (After use, these can be cooked down and are fully edible).

3) Dried Grass Straws – Made from naturally tube-shaped grass and available in green (also a natural chew/tug-of-war toy for pets, or crunch them if fidgety, to get the same satisfaction as popping bubble wrap).

4) Sugarcane Straws – Made from sugarcane, with a light sweet aroma, and available in a variety of sizes (including wide sizes for specialty drinks/bubble tea). Available in light brown (speckled), and washable for reuse within one day.

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“It’s well known that plastic straws are harmful for the environment, with most of the 500 million used every day in America ending up in oceans where they pollute water and kill marine life,” said Equo Co-Founder and Managing Director Marina Tran-Vu. “Although there are some plastic and paper straw alternatives on the market, most are environmentally harmful through the carbon footprint they make in production and disposal, and we were also unsatisfied with the quality and durability of paper straws.”

In addition to their positive ecological impact, Tran-Vu says they wanted to ensure Equo Straws were competitively priced to give consumers an affordable alternative to environmentally harmful straws.

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“Overall, we want to make sure if we offer an alternative to paper and/or plastic that it is realistic both in cost and supply,” she said. “We don’t want cost to be the main reason why people can’t select a better alternative.”

Pre-orders on Kickstarter are priced at $21 for two packs of 50 straws each.

The name of the product was created by combining the words ‘ECO,’ meaning not harmful to the environment, and ‘STATUS QUO,’ meaning an existing state or condition – so ‘EQUO’ stands for the ideal of creating functional products with minimal impact to the environment.

She noted that, for many people, using a straw is necessary. (No one wants truck drivers to be tilting their heads back, for instance.)

“Some people simply don’t have a choice to not use straws because of medical reasons… and albeit as a more personal choice, some people use straws to keep their lipstick/makeup in place or for dental reasons,” she said. “Whatever the reason, we want people to have the freedom of choice… and more environmentally-conscious options.”

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Straws are the first in a line of products the company plans to introduce to replace single-use plastics. For more information or to pre-order, visit the Equo Straws Campaign Page on Kickstarter.

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