Jose Cuervo Turns Their Waste Agave Into Durable, Biodegradable Straws

Last month, internationally renowned tequila brand Jose Cuervo unveiled their latest eco-friendly initiative: salvaging the leftover agave fibers from their distilling process and upcycling them into a more sustainable alternative to regular plastic straws.

The company is hailing their “Agave Project” straws as a first-of-its-kind biodegradable, bio-based drinking straw that will decompose up to 200 times faster than regular plastic.

Developed in partnership with the scientists at BioSolutions Mexico and the production team at Mexico-based PENKA, the creation of the agave-based straws sets out to offer a more sustainable alternative for the beverage industry, and utilizes the tons of fibrous material left over from the tequila-making process.

In 2020, millions of Jose Cuervo biodegradable agave-based straws will be rolled out at bars, restaurants, and Jose Cuervo events across the US and Mexico in a bid to reduce the consumption of regular plastics from the tequila-drinking experience.

Made with an agave bio-based and FDA-approved composite, the new straws replace around a third of the polymers used in traditional straw production, and at the end of its lifecycle can be consumed by microorganisms to fully biodegrade within one to five years in landfill conditions. This is a significant improvement over ordinary plastic drinking straws, which takes considerably more years in the same landfill conditions.

The agave-based straws feature a mouthfeel and texture similar to traditional plastic straws, with the agave fibers visibly creating a natural, organic tan color. The use of agave fiber by-product is a transformative improvement on other plant-based materials as the natural resources needed for growth is very low compared to plant-based materials coming from corn or potato crops.

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