- The straws decompose up to 200 times faster than regular plastic ones (credit: Jose Cuervo)

Tequila company Jose Cuervo is making sustainable straws

The straws are made using agave, a natural byproduct of tequila production

1y ago

It seems everyone’s finally waking up to the reality that plastic straws are terrible for the environment. Even major companies like Starbucks and Whole Foods are getting on board.

But while we all want to do our bit to fight plastic waste and not utterly destroy the oceans, we have to admit that the alternatives to plastic have their limitations. Paper straws, for example, go floppy by the time you’ve got halfway through your drink (first world problem, we know).

Enter Jose Cuervo. The world’s largest tequila producer is getting in on the environmentally-friendly straw game. And they’re doing it the best way they know: through tequila.

The company is turning agave into biodegradable straws. Tequila is made from the agave plant, but after the juice has been extracted, there are fibres left over as a byproduct.

Unsurprisingly, Jose Cuervo has a lot of this byproduct to deal with, so the company has announced a new sustainability initiative called The Agave Project.

As part of the project next year the company will roll out millions of the straws, which are made of one-third agave fiber-based bioplastics.

They are described as "a more sustainable alternative to regular plastic straws made from upcycled agave fibers: a first-of-its-kind biodegradable, bio-based drinking straw that will decompose up to 200 times faster than regular plastic.".

The straws, which were developed with BioSolutions Mexico, replace a third of the plastic used in traditional straws with the agave composite. That means they decompose much faster than plastic, but have a texture and mouthfeel that’s similar to regular straws. They’ve got a “natural, organic tan color” because of the agave fibers.

Master distiller and head of operations Alex Coronado said: “The past, present and future of Jose Cuervo is tied directly to the agave plant – without it, we would not exist.”

"As the tequila industry worldwide booms, it is our company's responsibility as the leader to take care of the agave plant and ensure that we are producing tequila sustainably. It takes an average of six years to grow an agave plant before it is mature enough to harvest for tequila production, and we have to be committed to finding more ways to use the agave fibers once that process is complete. The debut of our biodegradable, agave-based drinking straws is a new step in utilizing the full potential of this very special Mexican agricultural product."

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