A product that we don’t often even think twice about, a straw. We use it to sip and stir our beverages, and it’s literally been found in our homes and restaurants around the globe for decades. However, recently environmentalists have been focusing a new lense on straws, leading designers to rethink the invention design of a product that has existed long before any of us were even living yet.
Why are straws so bad?
Around the world, there are more than 500 million plastic straws used each day. Since straws are too small to be recycled they end up in the garbage, which can often lead to the ocean. They’ve been labeled as one of the world’s worst plastic items from both an environmental and toxic chemicals perspective, are one of the top polluters on our beaches, and can harm animals. It’s evident that the usage and design of straws need to be rethought about.
Reinventing a dated product: Invention design for the new straw
With the recent information publically out there about the harmfulness of straws, we’re seeing brands and businesses take action. Toronto bars and restaurants, for example, have begun to take the pledge, one by one to eliminate straws from their venues, and we’re seeing many other people follow suit.
However, the use of the straw and habit of using a straw is not something that you just take away from the human population after decades of using them. It’s evident that creators and innovators need to rethink this ancient invention design, and we’re seeing so many people do just that.
The alternatives that we’ve seen hit the marketplace are:
- Bamboo straws by Brush With Bamboo that are reusable, and made without chemicals or dyes.
- Paper straws are a single-use alternative for restaurants and bars that can (in some instances) be biodegradable.
- Steel straws have grown in popularity, are reusable, easy to clean, and be easily thrown in a purse or bag and brought along with you.
- Glass straws like the Bent Straw by BeOrganic are environmentally friendly and the company supports local plastic clean-up efforts in Bali.
Lastly, people aren’t just looking at straw alternatives, they’re also looking at an invention design that helps make drinking with a straw not as necessary like beverage cups and lids from places like Starbucks that eliminate the need for a straw.
About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!