Wheat straw products offer several benefits, along with some limitations.

Wheat Straw

Hundreds of different fibrous plants can be manufactured into alternatives to tree-based paper products, most notably wheat, rice, hemp, flax, and sugar cane. In many agricultural processes, straw is treated merely as the agricultural waste that remains after grain or juice is extracted from crops. For World Centric®, straw is a valuable resource that can be fashioned into disposable products like plates, take out containers, bowls etc.

Benefits of Wheat Straw Food Service Products

Discussion

Humans have used various grasses and reeds to make paper for thousands of years. The very word “paper” derives from “papyrus,” a reed that was used by ancient Egyptians in making paper. The ancient Chinese also developed methods for making paper from plant fibers, taking advantage of the vast quantities of straw that are generated in a rice-based agricultural economy. Only in the last century have trees been the primary source of fiber used in making paper worldwide. Even so, tree-based paper has rapidly expanded to dominate the worldwide market. Only 5-10% of paper worldwide currently derives from agricultural crops, the rest derives from trees.2 However, tree-based paper is less dominant in developing countries, where the U.N. estimates that over one-third of paper production is based on agricultural crops.3

Paper production that is based on agricultural crop waste offers numerous important environmental and economic advantages over tree-based paper production.

Advantages of making paper from agricultural waste instead of trees include:

About wheat straw: World Centric®’s plant-fiber food service products are currently made from wheat straw. In the past, we relied more heavily on bagasse (sugar cane fiber that remains after juice is extracted), and we may shift to other plant inputs in the future, as the market for agricultural waste grows and changes. The wheat straw that we use comes from the stalks of wheat plants. The stalks of wheat plants do not store protein, gluten, or allergens. Those are stored in the grains, and our products do not contain gluten or allergens. Our products meet FDA standards for food contact, and they meet FDA standards for gluten-free, non-allergenic products.

Bleach-free wheat straw products: We offer unbleached plant fiber products in a light brown color. Bleaching is unnecessary for food service products, but most disposable food service products on the market today are bleached. Some of these products are bleached with elemental chlorine, which releases toxins into the environment – most notably dioxins – where they do not break down easily and accumulate in the food chain.

Working Conditions: Most of our plant-fiber food service products are manufactured in China. We commission third-party audits of the working conditions in these factories, and are assured that they pay fair living wages in accordance with living standards in China, they do not employ children, and they provides housing, regular meals, and normal work hours for the workers. A summary of these audits can be downloaded here.
 

Case Study:

  1. Red Worms: A fast and efficient system to compost World Centric® brand compostable plates ; Cicada Hoyt; Ms. Buffy Sexton 7th grade science fair; Science Fair Research Paper; Provided January, 29 2013.

Page Notes:

  1. Composting times based on ASTD standards and in-house testing.
  2. Nonwoody Plant Fiber Pulps; Dr. Manfred Judt; Inpaper International; http://www.inpaper.com/magzines/inpaper/oct-dec-y1k/analysis-4.htm ; Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  3. Wood-Free Paper; The Rainforest Information Centre Good Wood Guide; http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/good_wood/wfr_papr.htm ; Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  4. Paper from Wheat, not Wood; World Changing Team; August 28, 2008; http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/008430.html
  5. Wheat Sheet: A New Era of Papermaking in Canada; Eco Initiatives, Markets Initiative; www.albertatechfutures.ca/Portals/0/documents/newsroom/pressreleases/Wheat_Sheet/WS%20backgrounder.pdf ; Retrieved 9/1/12.

 

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