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The Coolest Thing We Saw at NPE on Day Five: The Straw Man

Bay Plastics Machinery CEO Jason Forgash has invented a device that cuts polypropylene (PP) straws into tiny pieces, which are then recycled into new PP pellets.

Geoff Giordano

May 11, 2024

1 Min Read
Jason Forgash, Bay Plastics Machinery CEO, and the Straw Cutter
Image: Geoff Giordano

Amid much ado about plastic straws, Jason Forgash of Michigan’s Bay Plastics Machinery is thinking inside the box — namely, the BPM Straw Cutter, a countertop unit that ingests the pesky little pipes, shreds them, and bags the remnants for recycling.

Forgash, BPM CEO and president, began thinking of the project a few years ago before handing his concept over to BPM’s engineers to make it a reality. After three iterations, the Straw Cutter was born and ready for its debut at NPE2024.

New pellets from old straws.

Making straws greener is simple with this unit: Just feed a single straw through the inlet, and a small cutting unit inside cuts the polypropylene straw into pieces that fall into a mesh polypropylene bag. When the bag is full, users can ship it to BPM’s recycling partner via Fed-Ex, where it will be turned into new pellets.

Shared DNA with strand pelletizer.

The device features a simple cutting unit with a rotary blade, upper and lower feed roll, and bed knife — essentially a mini strand pelletizer. The cutter attaches magnetically inside the unit; if it breaks, customers can send it back to BPM for repair.

While there isn’t a well-defined customer base yet, Forgash thinks the BPM Straw Cutter is a natural point-of-purchase fixture for a fast-food chain. One customer at NPE thought the straw cutter would be ideal for the cafeteria in his facility.

Related:A Brief History of the Drinking Straw

This novel straw nosher could be ready for production in a month after a few tweaks, Forgash said. After that, if the concept takes off, the last straw you used might be just the first of many made from the same piece of plastic. 

About the Author(s)

Geoff Giordano

Geoff Giordano is a tech journalist with more than 30 years’ experience in all facets of publishing. He has reported extensively on the gamut of plastics manufacturing technologies and issues, including 3D printing materials and methods; injection, blow, micro and rotomolding; additives, colorants and nanomodifiers; blown and cast films; packaging; thermoforming; tooling; ancillary equipment; and the circular economy. Contact him at [email protected].

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