MARSHFIELD – Researchers at Designs Unlimited Marshfield (DUM) say they are close to a breakthrough in their quest to design a drinking straw that will biodegrade sometimes between 20,000 years and 2 minutes. While success has so far been elusive, the team now feels that they may have a working prototype by 2021.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been this close,” said lead design manager Sansa Spoir. “Last week we got a straw to make it almost 90 seconds. One of our team members almost finished their drink before slurping down some soggy pulp with their beverage.”
Spoir says that DUM has split the project into two teams at this point, one working on extending the life of straws on the lower end of stability, while the other group tries to bring down the lifespan of straws on the higher end.
“The other team has it a bit harder than we do,” Spoir admits. “They technically have to wait thousands of years to really see if they’re right. But I think they’re good at guessing. They’re under 30,000 years, estimated of course, but that’s not good enough. We need it under 20,000 at least. Ten would be better.”
DUM says the ideal length of a straw’s life would be around five years; long enough to give them some shelf life, but short enough that whatever species eventually comes after humans doesn’t find them lying all over the place.
“I don’t think we’re going to hit the magic 5-year mark anytime soon,” laughed Spoir, “but I do think we can eventually make them last long enough for a human to finish an entire cup of liquid. If they drink fast.”