Japan has been getting more into the reduction of single-use plastics recently and major izakaya (Japanese pub) chain Watami is gearing up for a big change to follow suit. Starting on Thursday, they will be eliminating plastic straws from their inventory, but more interesting is what they are replacing them with.
Dubbed the Take Straw, meaning “bamboo straw,” these tubes are primarily produced with bamboo fiber. This makes them completely biodegradable in a matter of months and even safe if accidentally ingested.
While that’s all great, it’s actually just one of the ways Take Straws are helping the environment. In addition to reducing waste, they’re also helping to wipe out the scourge of bamboo groves.
Because they’re so serenely pretty and make great backdrops for samurai battles, it might come as a surprise that bamboo groves are actually a growing problem. When properly maintained, clusters of the tall plants are delightful natural landscapes, but when left to their own devices, these fast growing stalks can overtake and choke off other plant life.
Not only that, but their shallow roots disrupt soil, making landslides a potential problem during times of earthquakes and heavy rains.
It’s a problem that Watami is addressing by not farming the bamboo used in their straws but by harvesting it from rogue groves around Japan. This obviously makes supplies more limited, so they will only be made available upon request by customers who order a soft drink at one of the 68 participating Watami and Zawatami locations across Japan.
It’s a nice move all around and a welcome step in the right direction for the company that has been nominated for Most Evil Corporation of the Year more than once. So, if you find yourself in a Watami, ask for a stick of bamboo and help stick it to bad bamboo once and for all.
Source: PR Times, Netlab
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