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This reusable plastic straw has a genius design fix that might win over the haters

More bubble tea. Less plastic in the ocean.

This reusable plastic straw has a genius design fix that might win over the haters
[Photo: Green One Lab]

Plastic straws have become a point of contention. Many cities and states have banned them because they end up in landfills, city streets (and sometimes even in sea turtles’ nostrils). But the bans have received a lot of pushback, and reusable straws aren’t as ubiquitous as they could be.

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Frankly, that’s because reusable straws are more inconvenient than the plastic ones you get from a coffee shop and toss with the cup: Metal or glass straws can be annoying to carry, hard to clean, and require a special brush to scrub inside.

[Image: Green One Lab]
A new reusable straw corrects a key design flaw found in most reusable straws currently on the market. The straw, called One Bubble Straw, has a seam running from top to bottom that can be opened for easy cleaning. Once you’ve cleaned it using a standard sponge—or even just a paper towel—it rolls back into place.

[Photo: Green One Lab]
The straw is from Green One Lab, a sustainable product design and development incubator out of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The Lab has launched a Kickstarter for the straw, and plans to ship in October.

[Photo: Green One Lab]
The straw has a few added bonuses for bubble tea drinkers. It’s extra wide to fit those boba pearls, has a beveled edge so that it can puncture plastic, and is sturdier than similar silicone straws that bend when you try to punch through a plastic seal.

[Photo: Green One Lab]
The straw is, unfortunately, made from plastic. But it’s foodsafe and 100% recyclable—and that’s after you wear it out, which could take a while. It can be opened for cleaning at least 1,000 times, according to its Kickstarter page. It’s also dishwasher safe.

Reusable straws that roll open or snap apart do exist elsewhere, but it’s unclear whether they’re made from recyclable plastic, as Green One Lab’s is. Plus, they tend to be more expensive: Similar silicone straws cost about $15 on Amazon. This one is about $6, which makes it easier (and cheaper) to be a more eco-conscious consumer.

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About the author

Lilly Smith is an associate editor of Co.Design. She was previously the editor of Design Observer, and a contributing writer to AIGA Eye on Design.

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