Repurposing plastic bendy straws into full-fashion and functionality with FLOW
Bend 'em, stretch 'em, wind 'em around your finger and have your friends snap them with a resounding pop. No matter how fondly you look at them, plastic drinking straws are yet another contributor to excessive waste and oil use. That's right, plastic drinking straws are made from oil, and like many other mysterious plastics, they can't simply be tossed in the recycling bin.
Many people have started asking their servers and bartenders to "hold the straw" in an effort to reduce their contribution to this waste, but until the entire food and beverage industry sees the light, designers have been looking for creative ways to reuse these little plastic tubes.
It was way back in 1888 when Marvin Stone patented the spiral winding process to manufacture the world's first paper drinking straws. Perfect for those that can't bring their lips to meet the glass (hospital patients) or thick drinks like root beer floats and milk shakes, that aren't easy to drink by tipping the cup, before Stone's paper design, people used natural rye grass straws to access their delicious beverages. Now, a designer bringing back the grass straw would really be something to report on, but until then, we can thank designer Linda Schailon for a creative method that turns used straws into fashion accessories.
A project appropriately named "Flow," Schailon assembles pieces of used straws into unique rings that appeal to conventional and eco-fashionistas alike.
The ring band is given by using the elbow of a straw, which gives it flexibility to be adapted to any extent. And combining patterns and colors, varying the number of pieces of drinking straws, you get an infinite variety of rings for any occasion, age, style, look.
One bit of information suspiciously missing from the Flow website is exactly how Schailon obtains the straws for her project. If they are truly collected from restaurants and bars after use, cleaned and then twisted into these unique rings, then this project is a great example of upcycling. If they are being purchased new, and then used, they're actually contributing to the problem instead of helping to solve it.
However, as the website states, they are a colorful, creative example of how we should all be thinking outside the box about items that we're so used to throwing away without a second thought.
The uniqueness of Flow is also given from hand made, with a detail for those who want to be chic and the same time contributing to making the world cleaner and more colorful.
For those that are dedicated to enjoying their favorite drinks with the assistance of a straw, but are troubled by this wasteful use of plastic, there are actually some reusable alternatives. Here are some links where you will find a bamboo set of straws, a stainless steel one, or even straws made of glass.
Also, an interesting final thought from Stiggly Holistics NYC: a little extra incentive that might help ladies just say no to straws - studies by dermatologists are linking straw use to pucker-wrinkles around the mouth!