The Straw Free Campaign is continuing to impact how customers and manufacturers think about one-use plastics. Major restaurant chains and hospitality providers like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Hyatt have pledged to stop using plastic straws and find an alternative. From uncooked noodles to bamboo, people have come up with some pretty creative ways to slurp up drinks, but the most popular option by far is the paper straw.
Since LD Davis is a major glue producer, you wouldn’t believe how many manufacturers came to us with questions about glue for paper straws and general product information. Below are answers to the top questions we received about paper straws.
How long do paper straws last in liquid?
The major complaint manufacturers reported was that end-users found the paper straws they used sucked, and not in a good way. Consumers noticed that the paper straws would often fall apart too quickly when put in liquid. It turns out, not all paper straws are made alike!
How long a paper straw lasts depends on the thickness of the paper and the quality of the glue. Most paper straw manufacturers say their products last between 2 - 3 hours. Always interested in a challenge, our team decided to make our own paper straws and put them to the test.
Our in-house sales & marketing team set up the experiment using paper straws glued by our in-house lab using LD Davis glue formula AP0113WE. We created two variants of straws for our experiment using 37 lb. paper and 74 lb. paper, two common paper weights used to manufacture paper straws.
We took four paper straws, two 37 lb. weight paper and two 74 lb. weight paper, and placed them in glasses of water and soda for several hours. Watch our time lapse video of our experiment to see our results!
Drum roll, please. After more than 4 hours of being submerged, the sample paper straws made in our lab still held up! We removed each straw and tested it, and while each one was a little softer than when the experiment began, none of the straws fell apart. When it comes to paper straw quality and longevity, it all comes down to quality raw materials.
Our paper straw adhesive holds up well through end of use, can be easily decomposed back into the environment safely, and is able to form a stronger bond with coated paper versus the competitors formula. Our glue is also gluten-free.
How are paper straws made?
Reel of paper for paper straws from Waterhorse Paper Manufacturing.
People have been making paper straws using the spiral-winding method since 1888. Three different strips or plies of paper are coated with glue and then wound around a thin metal rod to create the shape of the straw before being cut to size. Many cylindrical paper packaging products are made using similar paper tube winding technology, including Pringles cans and cardboard tubes.
What glue works best for paper straws?
Choosing the right adhesive is key to creating a longer-lasting paper straw. No one wants to have a soggy straw fall apart in the middle of their meal. Generally, paper straw manufacturers are going to want to use a water-based adhesive. This type of glue helps the paper straw maintain its shape for a few hours of use while also being biodegradable and food-safe.
We recommend using a water-based, PVA glue meets the composition requirement FDA Food Contact Suitability Determination. Depending on your application and needs, you might need a specialized formula of glue to get the job done. Working hand-in-hand with a glue manufacturer provides producers with a dedicated partner who can develop and test adhesives.
How do paper straws help the environment?
1. Paper straws are biodegradable.
Paper straws are completely biodegradable, even down to the glue that holds them together. If they end up in the ocean, they break down in 2 to 3 days. Meanwhile, plastic straws can take years to decompose and often end up in landfills or the ocean.
2. Paper straws are compostable.
It can take plastic straws roughly 200 years or more to breakdown. If they end up in the ocean, the plastic will break into smaller microplastics that get eaten by marine life. Plastic straws also exude dangerous chemicals like BPA as they decompose, since they are made out of polypropylene, which can harm wildlife. Paper straws, on the other hand, fully decompose back into the environment in about 2 to 6 weeks.
3. Using paper straws reduces one-time plastic use.
People go through a staggering amount of straws. It’s estimated that Americans use about 390 million plastic straws each day. Limiting the use of plastic straws by switching to an alternative biodegradable solution reduces our reliance on one-time plastics and waste.
4. Paper straws are better for marine life.
No sea turtles were harmed in the making of this blog! Paper straws unravel in about 2 to 3 days and are completely gone in about 2 months. While plastic products can get permanently ingested or suck in wildlife, paper products break down without any lasting effects on the environment.
To learn more about paper straw manufacturing and PVA glues, or if you are simply curious about sustainable solutions, contact the experts at LD Davis! If you’re working on a project, we’d love to help you make an eco-friendly impact.