Ong Hut Co – Vietnamese Wild Grass StrawsPosted: June 24, 2024

As the world becomes more aware of the alarming plastic crisis, there is an increase in the number of people saying no to plastic straws. While there have been a surge of alternative straws arriving to market such as bamboo, metal, paper, and even pasta straws, none seem to be as interesting as the new Wild Grass Straws.

In Early 2019, Tran Minh Tien, founded of the Vietamese company, Ong Hut CO. They use sedge grass, a species of grass that grows wild on the Mekong Delta to make fresh straws and dry straws. For both types, the grass is first collected, washed and cut into 20 cm tubs, and the inner surface is cleaned with an iron rod. Following this, the straws are re-rinsed and wrapped in banana leaf. For the dry straws, there is additional step of letting them bathe under the sunlight for 2-3 days and baking them under the oven. The fresh straws can last two weeks refrigerated, while the dry straws can last up to six months. In fact, both kinds of straws are edible, and are in fact free of chemicals and preservatives.

Tien and his company have been gaining large traction in local, regional, and international media because of the uniqueness of the product. The straws are not only unique because of the chosen material, but also their purchase price. Usually compostable/recyclable straws tend to cost 20-30% more than their plastic counterparts; however, the grass straws are unique in being that they are competitive. 1000 grass straws cost $CD 57 or USD$43, making them more affordable for restaurants, and other establishments.

Tien describes his venture being profitable, further dispelling the myth that one cannot combine green and profits, especially in a country part of the Global South. Tien is interested in selling these straws internationally, and to any wholesalers: I recommend contacting Tien to be a wholesaler.

I wish Tien and his venture all the best, and will continue to be an avid follower of his work.