Near the bullseye-center of the single-use plastics uproar is the previously ignored, ubiquitous plastic straw. It has one characteristic inherent in all conventional plastics: it’s highly durable and therefore stays intact wherever it is left. Due to carelessness, a straw could end up as litter at a park, beach, or lake. Yet such a seemingly simple thing has defied attempts to find a worthy substitute from performance and, especially, environmental standpoints.
WinCup Holdings believes it has the breakthrough solution: the phade straw, made of polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), which is derived from the fermentation of canola oil. It provides consumers the experience of using a plastic straw, yet the phade straw is engineered to essentially biodegrade and disappear. Certified tests show that it achieves complete marine biodegradation in just 58 days.
How does that compare to conventional plastic straws? Who really knows, but it's estimated that petrochemical-based straws typically made of polypropylene would require at least 200 years to disintegrate.
WinCup Holdings emphasizes that the phade straw is not intended to be thrown into any body of water, but rather is engineered to be either industrially or home composted. But, unlike conventional straws, if a phade straw ends up in the ocean it will biodegrade due to the bacteria.
Phade was created as a replacement for paper, conventional PP plastic, or polylactic acid (PLA) straws, the latter of which are only industrially compostable. Paper straws lack durability, get soggy, and breakdown during use.
The report and video are the result of a project conducted by Keypoint Intelligence, a product testing firm.
Overview and certifications.
“We remain focused on addressing the global plastics pollution crisis and this time-lapse video is a tremendous step in educating the world on what an alternative to petroleum-based plastic truly looks like,” says Brad Laporte, CEO, WinCup Holdings. “We feel strongly that the marketplace is a major driver in eliminating demand for petro-plastics, and manufacturers have an obligation to alter business practices to contribute to the cause. We are incredibly proud of the innovation behind our product that allows for this rapid biodegradation process, and we remain committed to continuously improve the sustainable attributes of our products.”
The development of phade involved a rigorous testing and certification process. TUV Austria, a globally recognized independent third-party certifying body, certified phade as both industrial and backyard compostable in a matter of months. TUV also certified the material from which the phade straw is made as marine biodegradable. Additionally, the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) has certified phade as industrially compostable.