Japanese companies are addressing the global issue of plastic waste with traditional techniques, novel ideas and a strong desire to help bring about a sustainable, recycling-oriented society.

Dealing with plastic waste in the oceans is currently an urgent global issue. In fact, it was a topic of utmost importance at the G20 Osaka summit in June. Now, many people have begun thinking about how we use plastic products.

That sense of crisis led to the creation of wooden straws made with the thinnings left over from forest conservation work. Aqura Home Co., a Japanese wooden house builder, invented the straw. At first, the company was looking for a way to hollow out pieces of wood, but then a traditional Japanese technique for shaving wood into a smooth surface caught its attention. An idea to wrap thin slices of wood about 0.15 mm thick into a helical shape led to the product.