Until recently, around 36.4 billion plastic straws were used per year in the European Union, according to data from Seas At Risk. Fortunately, several countries and areas around the world are starting to wake up to the environmental impact of plastic straws. The islands of Vanuatu and Seychelles were the first countries to outright ban plastic straws, and the EU is planning to take them out of circulation in 2021.
However, there have been some questions about the quality of plastic straw replacements – particularly when it comes to paper straws. And one key question is whether paper straws get soggy. As brands want to ensure a great user experience for consumers, this is a question that needs to be addressed.
Do paper straws go soggy? The short answer is yes, paper straws can get soggy before a drink is finished – but only if they’re manufactured poorly. The higher the quality of the paper, glue, and the straw’s structural design, the longer they’ll survive in liquid.
So, the issue of soggy paper straws is directly linked to production standards.
We work with leading global food and beverage brands. Our machines manufacture paper straws to the highest possible standards, using our unique spiraling and glue application technology to ensure 100% quality output. The resulting paper straws are strong, durable, and completely tasteless.
What do Customers Think About Paper Straws?
Paper straws are widely acknowledged as one small part of the answer to plastic pollution, though there is a genuine concern about the durability of paper straws. In the UK, for example, there was a petition for McDonald’s to bring back plastic straws. Some of the consumers’ worries included:
- “I can’t drink anything without getting paper in my mouth”
- “End up throwing milkshake away because straw falls to pieces”
- “Straw goes soggy in 2 sips”
- “It's so hard to get your flavour. All you can have is the straw flavour not the chocolate inside the cup.”
While we shouldn’t dismiss these very real consumer concerns, the petition didn’t reach the required 75,000 signatures to be debated. After all, 74% of consumers are happy to pay extra for sustainable packaging such as paper straws, and 67% of consumers consider themselves as environmentally aware.
Paper straws are rapidly growing in popularity, despite the uncommon (yet high-profile) instances where paper straws have been politicised. This makes it even more important to educate consumers on the real advantages of paper straws, and it means the industry must work hard to ensure quality across the board so the products maintain a good consumer reputation for the long-term.
Not all paper straws go soggy. The difference is in how they are made.
How are Non-Soggy Paper Straws Made?
So, let’s have a look at how paper straws are made – including those paper straws that don’t get soggy.
As with many other manufacturing processes, there are a number of ways to make paper straws, with different quality products the result. For example, paper quality greatly affects the integrity of a straw. A low-quality paper can make a drink taste bitter – a common complaint about low-quality straws. However, if the manufacturer uses high-quality papers and glues, a “neutral” taste can be achieved.
At Tembo Paper, we’ve worked hard to perfect our design for non-soggy paper straws. Our straws use three layers of certified, high-quality paper, along with glue designed specifically for straws. Two of these layers are made of paper of 120 gsm, or grams per square metre, while the third is 60 gsm. 120 gsm is strong: just one sheet of paper of this thickness, when rolled, keeps its structure.
We’ve tested our paper straws for durability – and their three layers mean they hold their shape under varying degrees of pressure. As a result, Tembo Paper’s paper straws can withstand up to four hours of immersion in both hot and cold liquids, while remaining tasteless and odourless too. This gives customers plenty of time to finish – and enjoy – their drinks.
Non-Soggy, but Biodegradable
What happens if a person takes longer than four hours to finish their drink? Due to the laws of science, our paper straws will, of course, dissolve – and we want that to happen. We want our straws to be biodegradable – and, if they never went soggy, they wouldn’t biodegrade.
Biodegradable straws help clear up plastic pollution in the ocean, save marine wildlife, and reduce the amount of plastic found in fish – fish that humans consume. One study, for example, discovered 36 pieces of microplastic – from products such as plastic straws – in 120 mackerel fish, suggesting that humans may be ingesting plastic microparticles.
Tembo Paper’s straws give the best of both worlds. They’re biodegradable, so reduce damage to the environment. At the same time they’re strong for long enough to provide an enjoyable user experience.
Conclusion: Paper Straws that Don’t Get Soggy
Businesses worldwide are making the transition away from plastic straws. Starbucks, American Airlines, Marriott International and Disney are among the many global brands that have either eliminated plastic straws or plan to in the near future. And, compelled by shifting public opinion, as well as by governmental initiatives such as the EU’s directive against single-use plastics, many more will follow suit.
Paper straws can be a fantastic cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution to the worldwide war on plastic pollution. However, businesses need to choose wisely with regards to paper straw suppliers.
Not all paper straws were created equal – and not all are up to the job. Do paper straws get soggy? Yes – we can’t avoid this natural fact. However, while some low-quality paper straws dissolve in your drink, or affect its taste, reliable alternatives exist. At Tembo Paper, we use a unique design and manufacturing process to make paper straws that don’t get soggy until after the user has finished their drink.
After more than four hours submerged in liquid, they’ll begin to biodegrade – and that’s exactly what you’d expect from an environmentally friendly paper straw.
If you want to know more about Tembo Paper’s paper straw technology, get in touch with us today.