Straws Made Of Wild Grass Are Vietnam’s Newest Zero-Waste Option

Nothing beats the fact that plastic causes an almost irreversible damage to this world, and the plastic straw you used this morning will probably end up in sea waters.

Getting rid of plastic mountains is a priority now, and maybe we should start off with plastic straws. You really don’t need these, and there’s an eco-friendly alternative that’s cheap and safe for use.

Straws can be made from different materials, and this young Vietnamese entrepreneur has the perfect idea – making straws from wild grass. Those who have tried these wild grass straws fell in love with the idea.

Tran Minh Tien owns Ống Hút Cỏ., a company that produces straws using sedge grass. His idea was based on using Lepironia Articulata, also known as co bang. The grass grows well around the Mekong Delta region in southwestern Vietnam. Tien wanted to change the world badly, and his design is more than welcome.

This type of grass has a hollow stem, and Tien makes both dried and fresh straws. The grass is grown, harvested and washed. Tien and his team cut 8-inch pieces and use an iron rod to clean the hollow part. The straws are washed and rinsed again. That’s how fresh straws are made. Tien sells them wrapped in banana leaves.

Dried straws require more effort. The grass is left under the sun for 2-3 days, and then it’s baked in the oven.

Fresh grass straws should be used within a couple of weeks, and they work best when stored in airtight bags in the fridge. You can boil the straws in salty water, and let them dry naturally. If you decide to do this, you should later store the straws in a dry and cool place.

Dried straws should be used within six months if kept at room temperature. Tien explains that the grass is edible, and customers can chew it after meals to clean their teeth and gums. No preservatives, no chemicals, no toxins.

The straws are sold in bundles of 100. One dry straw costs 1,000 Vietnamese dong ($0.043) and one fresh straw costs 600 Vietnamese dong ($0.026). Tien’s straws are only available in Vietnam.

Zero Waste Saigon is another company in Vietnam that’s founded with a similar purpose. It sells grass straws made from the wild grass that grows in the Mekong Delta.