The coconut tree is also known as the “Tree of Life” because all parts of the plant—from its roots, trunks, to its leaves—are useful. Coconut is a vital source of food, water, and medicine. Other than that, it can also be used to fuel fire, make toys, decorations, building materials, and household items, such as broomsticks, placemats, fans, and baskets.
On Corregidor Island, located next to the teardrop-shaped Siargao Island in the Philippines, one cafe owner was impressed seeing how the green fronds of the coconut tree were turned into eco-friendly “lukay” (local term for coconut leaves) straws.
Sarah Tiu, manager of Cafe Editha in Dapa, Surigao del Norte, chanced upon these unique lukay straws while holidaying with her family in Corregidor Island.
“We bought fresh buko and they just cut lukay, then made it into straws,” Tiu told INQUIRER.net.
As single-use plastic straws contribute to plastic pollution, Tiu has always wanted to eliminate the use of these straws in her own cafe.
In a written reply to The Epoch Times, Tiu said: “Siargao has been known as one of tourist destination in ph [sic] not so long ago and we are not ready for the thousands of people flocking in. Problems arise, trashes everywhere.”
“We don’t need to wait for our government to do all the work, instead if every individual will bring a positivity and do their part in cleaning the earth. We can preserve our ocean for future generations,” she further added.
So, in an effort to maintain Siargao Island’s beauty, Tiu has tried numerous alternatives to plastic straws, but all in vain.
“We tried using stainless straws and paper straws, but our customers didn’t like using it,” she said.
And when Tiu and her family came across the idea of making straws out of biodegradable coconut leaves, they were so impressed that “we asked them to teach us.”
After mastering how to make the lukay straw herself—which is really easy—Tiu started using these eco-friendly straws in her cafe.
Seemingly satisfied with the new environment-friendly initiative, Tiu uploaded some photos of the lukay straws on her cafe’s Facebook page to create awareness.
“LUKAY straw is easy to make and decomposable,” Tiu wrote. “I hope other restaurants will also be inspired to use this brilliant idea.”
I got this idea when we visited Correigidor and I'm very impressed. 👏👏👏🌴🌴😘 LUKAY straw is easy to make and…
Tiu’s post has been shared more than 21,000 times, garnering over 12,000 reactions and some 959 comments as of April 27.
“I love this idea,” one Facebook user wrote.
Another commented, “Nice & great innovations.”
“Export this to California,” another said.
A fourth one wrote, “Disposable & biodegradable.”
Last night at SITEL Puerto Princesa – trying out their coffew bar using BAMBOO as straw! #LuzonICTconference
Some users even shared pictures of their own creative, handmade straws using edible spring onion and bamboo.
Do you agree that the lukay straws look way prettier than the plastic straws? Not only do these biodegradable straws look aesthetically pleasing, but they also help stop plastic pollution.
According to National Geographic, about 500 million straws are used each day in America. A study estimated that as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the beaches around the world. And plastic straws make up 0.025 percent of the 8 million tons of plastic that flow into the ocean each year.
You can do your part to stop the use of single-use plastic straws by sharing this post!
“It would be nice if every individual do their part in preserving mother nature and saving the ocean. If my post was able to reached [sic] close to 3m views as of this writing. I’m positive that they are also eager to make a difference in this world,” Tiu told The Epoch Times.
If you are keen to give the lukay straw a try, learn how to make it by watching Tiu’s instructional video uploaded on her YouTube channel. Happy learning!
Watch Tiu’s Instructional Video: