Japanese snack company to launch barley straws

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In Japan, a food processing business plans to launch straws made from six-row barley in July as the country contends with plastics pollution, particularly in marine environments.

The Fukui Barley Club, which is based in the seaside city of Fukui, produces barley tea and snacks. Director Hiromi Shigehisa began making the straws by hand from waste barley stems to give to customers as a novelty or keepsake. Growing awareness of the plastics waste crisis, however, made her realize that the waste stems could become a useful solution.

The straws sell for 324 yen for 10, and in bulk sets of 250 for 8,000 yen. The company aims to produce 50,000 straws this year.

“I hope the product, which is biodegradable and good for the environment, will help people to reconsider their reliance on convenient plastic versions,” Shigehisa tells The Mainichi.