Sun. Mar 29th, 2020

A Mexican workshop manufactures ecological straws to combat the use of plastic

In its desire to conserve the environment, a company in the southern state of Oaxaca manufactures straws with natural materials, in line with several regions of Mexico that promote laws to reduce the use of plastic.

In Santa Cruz Papalutla, a municipality located 35 kilometers from the Oaxacan capital, a small workshop was installed that employs eight artisans, who traditionally dedicated themselves to making pieces made from reeds – a long-stemmed grass plant – such as baskets, flutes , frames or cages.

Now, without abandoning their usual work, they also dedicate themselves to cutting, cleaning and polishing the natural tube with which this plant is supplied with water in the soil, so that, in the form of a straw.

The project is called Chika Tiki, and in recent months it has experienced a great expansion.

"They have been sold in Mérida (Yucatan), in Mexico City, and in other States and where I have sent them lately. They have asked for them throughout Mexico, they have made me orders and people have called to ask how they are made to manufacture them just like them themselves elsewhere, "company founder and plastic artist Aline Hunzinker told Efe.

Attached to the idea of ​​not damaging the planet, the growing microenterprise is careful to gradually cut the reeds and let them sprout so as not to destroy the vegetation.

The raw material abounds in the central valleys of Oaxaca, and is a plant that regenerates rapidly in the rainy season.

"Look at this, the reeds, when they are cut, are born again. So that not by cutting them we are damaging the planet. (…) And instead the plastic straws (straws) because it does take longer to Not to get rid of it, and this is not, because it is already like firewood, it quickly falls apart, "Donaciano Sánchez López, a craftsman from Santa Cruz Papalutla, told Efe while picking up the plant.

The small group of artisans of Chika Tiki directly employs two Papalutla families, who have benefited from the idea of ​​creating ecological reed straws in Oaxaca, where the traditional sale of handicrafts made with this plant is not well paid.

"It is well paid, it is very well paid, I do not have to go out of the house to be able to get more income for my family," said Asunción Martínez Cruz, a craftswoman who makes the straws from home.

Between all of them, they can make 500 straws a day and their unit cost is five pesos (0.22 euros), which varies when the orders exceed one thousand straws, as is the case with the new order that goes to Mérida, Yucatán.

In their use, the reed straws are personal and non-transferable as any object of value and identity, they are washable and can have a shelf life of up to three months, in contrast to those made with plastic material, which are only useful for 20 minutes or less.


In "La Selva", a bar in the city of Oaxaca, the use of the plastic straw has been completely replaced by a reed that is made in the Zapotec community.

"People react very well. In fact, I think there has been a lot of public awareness about ecology and straws. And they have accepted them quite well. It is a biodegradable option that does not pollute and they look very good in cocktails, "Gerardo Vargas Santiago, one of the waiters of the place, told Efe.

Mexico has embarked on a crusade against single-use plastics with the country's capital as a spearhead and with more than a dozen states that follow in search of alternatives

From January 2018 to May 2019, the states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Sonora, Durango, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, San Luis Potosí, Jalisco, Nuevo León and Mexico City have modified their laws to prohibit or regulate the use of bags of plastic, straws or styrofoam articles.

. (tagsToTranslate) Mexican (t) manufactures (t) ecological (t) combat (t) plastic

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