Every day over 500 million plastic straws are used in the US. Many of these straws end up polluting the ocean, impacting sea life and in form of microplastics as a big health risk for every one of us. California banned the use of single-use plastic straws in full-service restaurants with the beginning of 2019. Cities like San Francisco and Malibu have even stricter rules, banning plastic straws outright.
It is an important step to protect our environment but these recently introduced regulations left coffee shop owners to scramble for an alternative. Many of them started to use paper straws or no straws at all.
One industry that has been hit by this particularly hard is boba tea. The chewy tapioca balls (also known as boba) require the use of a straw. The boba straw must be wide enough for the tapioca balls and have enough structural integrity to withstand punching through the plastic seal of the cup. Paper straws simply don’t work for Boba as they are not strong enough.
In our project Turtle we will design and manufacture thick pasta straws. Pasta straws are long tubes of dried pasta. Thin pasta straws are already used for exotic cocktails, but there are no straws thick enough for Boba. We will use our own recipe for the pasta dough with custom color and flavor for the straw. Our highly customizable straws are biodegradable and improve the user experience when drinking Boba compared to plastic straws.