The Reinvention of Straws: From Plastic to Bamboo, Steel, and Glass

by | Jun 7, 2018 | Educational, Innovation, Inventions

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 invention design of an old product - the straw updated with bamboo material to be eco-friendly.

Bamboo straws.


The alternatives that we’ve seen hit the marketplace are:

  1. Bamboo straws by Brush With Bamboo that are reusable, and made without chemicals or dyes.
  2. Paper straws are a single-use alternative for restaurants and bars that can (in some instances) be biodegradable.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

We can’t wait to continue to see how inventors shake up the dated straw industry to create innovative products and new invention design that help save our world!

Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent

Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent

Company Team

MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.


1 Comment

  1. andy

    Disrupting old products and systems is what it’s all about.

    We work a lot with young inventors and startups, typically introducing new products to the market.
    But I know plenty of ‘jobbing’ innovators who make a very good living doing work just like this – taking everyday products and making them better.

    The straws issue is special, because it’s had a lot of publicity, but the same principle applies on countless other products in need of a re-think.


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