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Eco-friendly straws: Edible straws made by bacteria are better than paper or plastic ones

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Plastic straws are increasingly being avoided for both health and environmental reasons, but the alternatives all have their downsides – until now



Technology



17 January 2022

PWBMC4 Multi-coloured biodegradable and compostable paper straws in a cafe in London, UK

Paper straws are not ideal

Benjamin John/Alamy

When it comes to drinking with a straw, there is no perfect option – plastic straws can release microplastics into your beverage, paper straws buckle and bend when they get wet and metal straws can damage your teeth. Now there is a solution: edible straws made by bacteria.

Qing-Fang Guan at the University of Science and Technology of China and his colleagues made straws out of bacterial cellulose, which is similar to the plant-based cellulose used to make paper but with a closer-knit molecular structure. It …

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