Eco-friendly, edible straws win the stage at Collision

This spring, Toronto hosted its first Collision Conference, North America’s “fastest growing tech conference,” attracting more than 25,000 international attendees, almost half of which were women. During PITCH, an on-stage competition between 60 startups (narrowed down from hundreds of applicants), a cleantech product of special interest to the food industry was selected as the winner: Loliware – a company formed in 2015 by industrial engineers Chelsea F. Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker – produces an edible, seaweed-based straw that biodegrades in 60 days or less. The gluten-free, sugar-free and non-GMO bioplastic developed by Loliware was first used to create cups, but they were discontinued due to production challenges (such as breakage during shipping). After a successful Kickstarter campaign and an appearance on Dragon’s Den that secured a $600,000 investment, Loliware started shipping straws to its first customers this March. Several Fortune 500 companies are partnering with the company, including Marriott, Pernod Ricard and others to be announced later this year. “The plastics problem is quite literally as deep and wide as our oceans,” says Briganti, “so we feel an relenting sense of urgency to ensure we achieve huge impact through rapid adoption at massive volume.” It appears that Loliware is well on its way.   

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