You might have heard of wheat straw if you're always looking for eco-friendly products. It's a material that's steadily growing in popularity in the market as a plastic alternative. And with a giant blob of plastic floating through the ocean as we speak - we're all for it!
But what exactly is wheat straw, why is it an eco-friendly option, and what should I look for when purchasing products made of it? We'll break it all down and share some of our favorite wheat straw finds!
What is Wheat Straw?
Wheat straw is the dry stalks left over after wheat grains have been harvested, an agricultural byproduct of food production. After the wheat grain is removed, the straw is baled and transported for processing. As wheat is a widely cultivated and renewable crop, wheat straw is an abundant and sustainable resource that can be found in many parts of the world.
What Makes Wheat Straw Sustainable?
Wheat straw has the environmental advantage of making use of a resource that would otherwise be discarded. This helps close the loop in waste and reduce the unnecessary creation of new materials. Beyond that, wheat straw has several other eco-friendly benefits.
- It is made from renewable resources, which means it is more sustainable and has a lower carbon footprint than petroleum-based plastics.
- Wheat straw plastic is biodegradable, which means it will break down over time and not contribute to plastic pollution in the environment.
- It does not contain harmful chemicals or toxins on its own that can damage the environment through its processing, use, or disposal.
How is Wheat Straw Processed into a Plastic Alternative?
After harvesting, the wheat straw is cleaned, chopped, and ground into small pieces. Next, the pieces are mixed with biodegradable plastic resin and other additives, such as colorants or stabilizers, to create a wheat straw plastic material. From there, the wheat straw plastic material is molded or extruded into various shapes and forms, such as cups, utensils, or dishes.
What Makes Wheat Straw a Better Alternative to Plastic?
If you care about the environment, you know about the havoc disposable and reusable plastic has on our environment. Our continued use of plastic eating utensils contributes to its adverse effects on our planet.
- Pollution: Plastics are not biodegradable, which means they can persist in the environment for hundreds of years, causing pollution. Plastic waste is often disposed of improperly, leading to litter on land and in waterways. This litter harms wildlife and their habitats and can also contaminate the soil and water.
- Microplastic Contamination: Plastic waste breaks down into tiny particles called microplastics, which can be ingested by marine life and accumulate in the food chain, eventually harming human health.
- Carbon emissions: The production and disposal of plastic releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change.
- Harmful chemicals: Some types of plastic contain toxic chemicals, such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which can leach into food and water, causing health problems for humans and wildlife.
- Resource depletion: The production of plastic requires large amounts of fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, which are non-renewable resources. The extraction and transportation of these fuels can also cause environmental damage.
However, it is essential to note that wheat straw plastic is not a perfect alternative to traditional plastic. It may not have the same durability or strength as plastic made from petroleum and may not be suitable for all applications. Additionally, producing wheat straw plastic still requires energy and resources, so it is not a completely zero-waste solution. Here is to hoping that a perfect solution can be developed soon, but for now, we are all for doing the best we can!
Is Wheat Straw Food Safe?
Wheat straw is most commonly found in kitchen goods, so it's natural to wonder if it is food safe, especially if you intend to use it for your kiddos. The good news is that the answer is yes! Unlike traditional plastics, wheat straw is free from BPA, Phthalates, PVC, and styrenes. However, wheat straw is typically mixed with other materials to make a plastic-like material, so always check each product to ensure it has been adequately tested as food safe.
Wheat Straw For The Win!
If you're seeing more wheat straw while you're shopping for kitchen supplies, there's a good reason why. It's gaining popularity as a fantastic alternative to plastic due to its sustainability and natural, toxin-free properties. While it isn't perfect, it's still a huge step forward from plastic today. So if you're ready to make a positive change for the planet, here are some of our favorite wheat straw options. (Forgive us, the first is a shameless plug!)
Shop Now: Fenrici Wheat Straw Bento Box
Shop Now: Wheat Straw Cutting Board Set
Shop Now: Wheat Straw Dinner Plates