Every year, more than 36 billion straws are used and thrown away in the European Union alone. The fast food industry in Europe uses enough straws to line the world every 48 hours. That’s the last straw. It all runs in the plastic soup. There’s another way. With Wheat Straws: a sustainable, biodegradable and affordable alternative made from wheat.
As an avid diver, Bas Latten (21) saw the plastic soup float by with his own eyes during his journey through Asia. Coming home, he wanted to do something about this. He was looking for a solution for plastic straws. “The wheat straw is made from agricultural waste and you simply throw it in the green container after use.” The story of a Maastricht world improver.
He’s not sitting at our table yet or enthusiastically sticking out. “In Bali I came up with the idea. Straws are forbidden in some parts of the island. At the same time, they incinerate agricultural waste every day. That’s a shame! We can make valuable wheat straws out of that.” After 166 days of travelling through the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, he went home with plans. “I would like my children to enjoy diving as much later as I do, but something has to change now.”
Back in Maastricht, his study International Business at zuyd university is of great use. “I cycled to the Vrijthof and started the conversation with catering entrepreneurs. What do they need? From 1 January 2021, plastic straws will be banned in Europe. Bar staff are not eager to wash off reusable straws and paper straws become limp over time.”
So the wheat straw seems to be the solution. Bas continues enthusiastically: “The advantage is that they can no longer burn this agricultural waste. This saves CO2 emissions. Machining the straws can be done at lower temperatures, which in turn reduces CO2 emissions. And because you throw the straw away in the green container, we save once again on combustion.”
In the meantime, the young entrepreneur is busy with the development. “The straws break if you push them too often. It remains a natural product, which is a matter of education and habituation and for me absolutely no reason to stop, of course we are constantly looking for improvement. As far as I’m concerned, this is the straw of the future.”
Copy cats are lurking, but Bas doesn’t waste any energy on them. “If I’ve learned anything on my journey, it’s staying calm. Speaking is silver, silence is gold.” Bass goes unhindered. “I believe in this.” He has since dropped out of college, all his time goes to his company. He’s sold 100,000e straws in the last six months.
“It’s easier to mop up when someone turns off the tap.” 2% of each purchase amount of Bas’ ECO Wheat – Straws B.V.. goes to The Ocean Cleanup by Boyan Slat. “In Asia, I learned that you should not only take, but also give something back from time to time. Be kind to each other and to our planet. That’s why my clients become indirect donors to The Ocean Cleanup. We must not only stop polluting, but also clean up the mess that we have all caused. ”
Wheat Straws is an official partner of Chemelot. Together with the biochemical experts, they develop the most natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions to combat disposable plastic items worldwide.