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Kaido Saar

To which topic does your idea refer?

Material Innovation

Describe your idea! How does it work to reduce / replace plastic? How will you involve others?

Sutu is company established 2018 and producing the drinking straws from reed plants.
The reed plant is like a weed growing on the coastline. It grows fast similarly to bamboo. But unlike bamboo the reed plant has to be harvested every year in order to keep the coastline clean and local ecosystem functioning.

On this purpose we have had to solve following problems:
1) How to get the reed from the coastlines?
Solution: We needed to set up the agreements with the local land owners and our partners to harvest the reed
2) How to produce the straws efficiently? Involves sorting, cutting, cleaning, thermal treatment etc.
Solution: Sutu is the first in the world to invent and build an automated production line to produce 100% natural drinking straws from reed.
3) What to do with the leftover of reed material? 75% of material is not suitable for the straws.
Solution: started co-operation with Tallinn University of Technology and their scientists to work out the biocomposite based on reed plant, it can be used for other eco-friendly cutlery items (eg cups, cup lids, plates etc).

Think bigger - What can you add to your idea to make it 1 million times more effective?

Currently during our development and pilot phase our main focus has been in Estonia (although test-batches of straws delivered to Finland, Sweden, France, Germany too). These eco-friendly items could be introduced in wider scale in large countries.

Effectiveness: How much plastic can be saved with your idea?

Our automated production line is projected to get 3 million straws per year in 1 shift. If in 3 shifts it is close to 10 million 100% natural straws per year. Based on biocomposite we can produce similar amount of other cutlery items.If people or cafes buying these items we can save 20 million plastic items every year.

Reach: How many people can be reached with this idea?

All the consumers and cafes.

Implementation: What does it take to realize your idea or make it even more successful?

We need to enscale the introduction of our straws and get the biocomposite products market-ready.

Sustainability - How sustainable is your idea? What are the benefits for the environment?

Less plastic in the world, eg 20 mln pc. Much cleaner coastline of our UNESCO island Saaremaa as the reed is properly (systematically) harvested.