Tran Minh Tien, 32, runs his company 3T which produces grass straws, from a village deep in the Mekong river delta, west of Ho Chi Minh city, where wild gray sedge grass grows in swampland.
“Right from the start, I formed this idea around the fact that the harvesting can never exceed the grasses’ natural reproduction rate,” Tien said.
But he knows his straws will not be a permanent fix given the limited supplies of the grass in Vietnam, the world’s fourth-largest contributor to marine plastic pollution, according to a 2015 study by the University of Georgia.
“I came up with the grass straws as a temporary substitute to plastic straws to reduce part of the damage they cause to the environment.”
Photographed for Reuters, December 2019.