When you come for a #OneTripOneTree tour with us we like to serve coconut for lunch, fresh from the tree.. This used to mean using a plastic drinking straw to drink the coconut water. We were concerned about the environmental impact of these straws, particularly in Tanzania where waste disposal systems are poor. We didn’t want our waste plastic ending up in the ocean. What we needed was a solution that was 100% natural.
The obvious solution was to replace the plastic straw with a straw grown by Mother Nature. There are many plants with hollow stems to be found in nature, including straw! We needed a plant that we could grow ourselves here in Tanzania. We considered bamboo but it is quite an invasive species and we didn’t want to fix one problem by creating another. We experimented with many different plants which meant drinking a lot of healthy nutritious coconut water.
The Castor Oil plant is grown locally for the medicinal properties of the oil which is made from the beans. We grow ours in our plant nursery. The stems of the plants have none of the strong medicinal chemicals found in the beans and would normally be thrown on the compost heap when we harvest the beans. Instead we have taken the stems and cut them to the right sort of length. These natural straws are then dried in the sun and stored until required. #ProblemSolved