Categories
Drinks Sustainability

Straw Stars: A Straw Alternative Power Ranking

Last week, Foodbeast’s lead TikTokker/editor-in-chief Elie Ayrouth posted a video of an enormous, 1-pound bag of boba milk tea. Why exactly this product exists, I do not know. But, what I do know is that one of my favorite reactions to the video was a comment that asked him not about the boba, but about the environmental ethics behind his consumption of said gluttonous bag of tea. More specifically, the plastic straw he used was in question. 

Now, I’m all for not using plastic. You’re talking to the person who used to force his coffeeshop coworkers to use glass cups with no straws while at work. But, if you see a bag of boba big enough to give someone a concussion should a fight come its way, and the first thing you think of is how wasteful the straw usage is, you might be on a path towards being overkill. 

Anyways, as the Foodbeast editorial team sat in our meeting room and discussed this comment during our weekly meeting, we started to wonder: what ARE the best straw alternatives? Besides coming to a communal agreement that paper straws would be better off staying a tree, the results were varied. But, after much deliberation, here we have it, a power ranking of straws:

10. Biodegradable Plastic Straws

Photo by: Christopher on Pexels

Ideally, biodegradable plastic straws would be the answer to all our problems, and would make this list irrelevant. But, like anything that sounds too good to be true, it is. These types of straws are only biodegradable in certain, commercial compost facilities, meaning you have to dispose of them in a way that definitely doesn’t include tossing it away with your iced coffee before you enter work, a fate similar to that of most of our straws.

9. Pasta Straws

Photo by: Pixabay on Plexels

Pasta straws are indeed highly functional, but they’re still single use and are ruined after an hour’s time. Pass. 

8. Silicone Straws

Photo by: frank mckenna on Unsplash

Silicone straws are flexible, easy to clean, and heavily reusable. The only problem is most lend a distinct taste to any drink they’re served in. No flavor compliments everything you drink quite like an undertone of rubber, right?

7. Paper Straws

Photo by: Vlad Chețan on Pexels

Personally, I have no qualms with most paper straws. In my experience, most paper straws take over an hour until they start becoming flimsy. But, alas, it seems as if the general consensus is that paper straws become soaked and useless after a couple minutes in liquid and have a weird “lip feel.”

6. Hay Straws

Photo by: Pixabay on Pexels

Surprisingly, straws are named after straw. Like, the stuff in hay bales. More surprisingly, there are companies selling straw straws. From my research, it seems as if they work well, too. The issue is that it’s difficult to produce a consistent product, as each stalk of straw grows to a different diameter. Until these are able to be mass produced, they’ll stay in the middle of the pack (hay bale, if you will).

5. No Straw

Photo by: Daria Shevtsova on Pexels

This would be higher up if it wasn’t for the active lifestyle that most people live. For sitting down at a meal, or kicking it at a coffee shop, no straw is the best straw. But, the moment you have to take a drink to go, choosing to go no straw turns your commute into a perilous mission.

4. Glass Straws

Photo by: Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

By all means, glass straws work great. Easy to clean, cheap, and essentially acting as an additional part to the glass you’re drinking out of, glass straws are amongst the best straw alternative options. But, while many glass straws are indeed tough, the off chance that a glass straw shatters in your bag, backpack, or drink brings it’s ranking down.

3. Sippy Lid

Photo by: Daria Shevtsova on Pexels

It’s like no straw, but with some protection from the elements. The only issue is that some people don’t feel right drinking things without a straw, apparently. For me, this is not an issue. But, hey, if you absolutely need a straw, who am I to judge?

2. Bamboo Straws

Photo by: Artem Beliaikin on Pexels

Sustainable, economical, smooth on the lips, and resistant to soaking, bamboo straws are about as good as it gets. The only downside is that they do eventually wear out, which brings them down to second on our list. But, on the bright side, it’s a stick. You can properly dispose of these straws by simply tossing it in the dirt. 

1. Stainless Steel Straw

Photo by: Louise Burton on Unsplash

There’s really no downside to stainless steel straws. They’re hard to break, easily cleaned, not too expensive, and some come with silicone tips to give an improved lip feel. If you’re going to use a straw alternative (you should), this is the Foodbeast approved answer.

Categories
News Products What's New

Could These Spoons Made of Grains Be the Utensil of the Future?

compost spoons

It seems like every week the environmental apocalypse draws closer. New tweets and studies pop up everyday spelling out our doom in great detail. One of these states that by 2050 the population will balloon to 10 billion and the amount of plastic in the ocean will outnumber the fish, which means that, basically, we need to almost entirely stop using plastic — especially that of the single-use variety. One of the largest contributors to single-use plastics are utensils, which TwentyFifty are here to help eradicate with their biodegradable utensils. 

The utensils, which have the texture and look of an abnormally thick graham cracker, are made with a combination of wheat flour, soy flour, corn flour, and water. This simple mixture, somehow, results in utensils just as strong and durable as their plastic counterparts, according to the package. However, these spoons and forks can be planted in the soil, where they’ll be composted in around 10 days.

This is genuinely great. But, I remained skeptical of their usability. So, I took the package of spoons we had laying around the Foodbeast office, and put them to the test the only way I knew how: with a nutritious bowl of cereal.

For reference, my bowl of choice was Life — because it’s the only cereal we had in the office that wasn’t something like Maple Bacon Honey Bunches of Oats — steeped in almond milk from Starbucks, because my passion for utensil integrity is big enough to spend $3 on a small cup of almond milk.

The spoon held up well under the wet conditions. At no point did it feel like it had grown soggy, which was my main concern with a spoon made entirely of grains. I even let it marinate in the cereal milk for an hour, and it didn’t lose an ounce of strength. Functionally, it works like any spoon. I do wish it was a bit deeper, so I could fit more liquid in one bite. But, hey, sustainability beggars can’t be choosers.

Naturally, my next question was, “Well, can I eat the spoon too?” TwentyFifty’s website claims they’re “nearly edible,” and I’m here to tell you that this does, in fact, mean nearly edible. I almost broke my tooth trying to bite into a dry spoon, so I can’t say I’d recommend counting on these as a nice post-meal snack anytime soon.

The next problem to tackle is cost and availability. Right now, the utensils are largely only cheap once they’re in bulk. A package of 24 spoons will run you around $17 and are only available online at twentyfiftyfork.com. This makes it a hard bargain to drive when your local Walmart sells bulk plastic spoons for the same price. It makes sense that the biodegradable spoons are more expensive to use, but economics are economics when it gets down to it for your average supermarket consumer.

All in all, though, I was thoroughly impressed by these utensils. And so were many others, seeing as the invention won a Nexty Award. Once the brand gets their price point down and distribution up, TwentyFifty could (and hopefully) be the spoon of the future.

Categories
Packaged Food

Your Favorite Candy Is Probably Being Recalled Thanks To This Simple Piece Of Plastic

Mars-Recall-55

Mars Candy, the popular US chocolate maker, is recalling candy bars in 55 countries around the world after the company found some plastic in one of its products.

The Associated Press reports that the recall will affect 55 countries. While sources show that the voluntary recall affects products in Netherlands produced earlier this year.

According to the Dutch food safety authority, a piece of plastic was responsible for the recall. Consumers could potentially face a choking hazard when consuming the candy.

A list of the products affected include: Mars, Milky Way, Snickers, Celebrations and Mini Mix.

The Foods Standards Agency posted the exact products being recalled:

Product: Mars Funsize
Product code: AV39F
Pack size: Fun size bag 250g
‘Best before’ end: from 11 September 2016 to 2 October 2016

Product: Milky Way Funsize
Product code: AV39J
Pack size: Fun size bag 227g
‘Best before’ end: 2 October 2016

Product: Variety Funsize, Family Favourites
Product code: AV33W
‘Best before’ end: from 29 May 2016 to 14 August 16

Product: Variety Funsize, Party Mix
Product code: AV33T
‘Best before’ end: from 15 May 2016 to 7 August 2016

Product: Celebrations
Product code: AJ46N
Pack size: 388g box
‘Best before’ end: from 8 May 2016 to 28 August 2016

Product: Celebrations
Product code: AJ46R
Pack size: 245g box
‘Best before’ end: from 8 May 2016 to 28 August 2016

Product: Celebrations, 2.5kg catering case
Product code: YF413
Pack size: 388g
‘Best before’ end: 7 August 2016 and 14 August 2016

Photo: Snickers Facebook

Categories
Packaged Food

355,000 Cans Of SpaghettiOs Recalled For Plastic Bits In The Sauce

SpagO-Red-Recall

Campbell Soup Company is issuing a recall of 355,000 SpaghettiOs cans after it was discovered that pieces of red plastic lining was found in the tomato sauce. Consumerist reports that because of the choking hazard that this presents, the company is recalling the cans of Original Flavor.

The 14.2 ounce cans in question have February 22, 2016 on the bottom of each lid with a UPC number of 51000 22432. Campbell says to return the cans to the store where they were purchased, but if consumers are unable to, they should call the company’s recall line at 1-866-535-3774.

Can’t have plastic bits interrupting our SpaghettiOs time.

While the pieces of plastic were discovered through numerous customer complaints, it doesn’t look like anyone was hurt yet from the product.

Photo: SpaghettiOs

Categories
Packaged Food

Kraft Recalls 36,000 Cases Of Cheese Product After Plastic Choking Incidents

Kraft-Cheese-Recall

The Kraft Heinz Company announced that it’s recalling 36,000 cases of Kraft Singles, Consumerist reports. Turns out, the plastic wrap that separates each individual slices is a choking hazard.

In a press release, the company stated, “A thin strip of the individual packaging film may remain adhered to the slice after the wrapper has been removed. If the film sticks to the slice and is not removed, it could potentially cause a choking hazard.”

There have been three reports of people choking on the plastic and ten overall complaints about the packaging.

Kraft-Recall-2

The main products of the recall are the 3-pound and 4-pound sizes of Kraft Singles American and White American pasteurized prepared cheese product. They feature a ‘Best When Used By’ date of Dec. 29, 2015.

Consumers are advised to return the item to the store if they purchased the recalled cheese product. There, they can exchange it or receive a full refund. Folks in the US and Puerto Rico can also contact Kraft Consumer Relations at 1-800-432-3101 on Monday through Friday at 9am to 6pm for a full refund.

Kraft also apologizes for disappointing consumers with its packaging.

 

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Hawaii Is Officially The First State To Ban Plastic Bags In Grocery Stores

Plastic-Bags-Hawaii

Hawaii has officially banned plastic bags in grocery stores. The City and County of Honolulu announced Wednesday that it will be enforcing a ban prohibiting the distribution of plastic bags in supermarket checkout lanes, reports the Huffington Post. Because Oahu was the last island in the state to enforce the ban, Hawaii will no longer offer them to customers.

Stores in various counties across the nation have gradually been removing plastic bags from checkout. Instead, they encourage patrons to bring reusable bags for their groceries.

Since plastic isn’t biodegradable, it’s a leading contributor to ocean patches that eventually form into garbage islands. By using a reusable bag, we limit the negative impact plastic bags have on the environment.

 

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

Trader Joe’s Recalls 59,203 Pounds Of Chicken Sausage After Plastic Bits Discovered

TJ-Sausage-Recall

If you’re a fan of Trader Joe’s Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage, you might want to check your refrigerator. Kayem Foods, the supplier of the breakfast meat, issued a recall of 59,203 pounds on Monday.

It was discovered that there was a possible contamination with the sausage where it contained pieces of plastic. Two customers discovered little bits of plastic in the sausages and contacted Kayem. This led to an investigation that led to the recall.

Any product with the establishment number P7839 in the USDA inspection marks will be recalled. The US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service instruct consumers to look out for brands with the case code 9605 that use freeze/by dates of April 22, 25 and 29, 2015.

The Al Fresco brand of Apple Maple Fully Cooked Breakfast Chicken Sausage that come in 8 ounces will also be subject to a recall. These include products with the case code 9709 and freeze/by dates of June 13 and 20, 2015.

Although it was declared a “low health risk,” nobody wants to eat plastic for breakfast. As of now, there have been no reported cases of illness or injury from the plastic.

 

Categories
Products

Custom Lids Transform Mason Jars Into Hipster Sippy Cups

mason-jar-drinking-lids

The same people who brought you hipster-approved mason jar bento boxes also offer a custom lid that turns your mason jar into a  spill-free travel mug. No more spilling your entire sun-warmed organic black  tea over your American Apparel hoodie, guys!

The BPA free and recyclable tops screw in under the cap and are great for hot and cold beverages alike. Plus, this little plastic cap is a lot cheaper than most overpriced travel mugs out there (just $8 a pop). So grab a jar, empty out those pickles, fill it with your favorite drink and go out into the world, unafraid of shirt stains.

Canning Jar Drinking Lids, $8 @Cuppow

H/T Core 77 + PicThx Cuppow