Selling straws can also exceed 100 million. Have you ever thought that it is such a big business?

To those businesses that look small but can make a lot of money, take a look at one. This fun article takes you back to the eye-catching gizmos of “sipper”, which helps prevent tooth decay in addition to drinking drinks. However, “the world is sucking out of Yiwu”, now Yiwu also encountered a transformational trouble, how can the plastic straw change when the environmental wave hits?

There is one thing, although it is inconspicuous, but the frequency of appearance in the girl’s selfie is really high. You flip through your circle of friends, and those who are quiet in the clouds and quiet, do some girls like to hold a cup of drink, is there always a root pipette in the cup?

Of course, there are more extreme examples. In the first two years, the French newspaper Le Figaro reported the second generation of Chinese students studying in North America. Among them, girls like to drink high-priced red wine and use straws to avoid staining their teeth. This was approved as a vulgar.

A small straw has become a necessity for humans. Milk, yoghurt and drinks in the supermarket are mostly equipped with straws, drinks in restaurants and cafes, and straws are standard.

It is said that humans have consumed hundreds of billions of straws a year.

01

Tobacco merchant invented straw

The straw in the modern sense, English is straw, invented by American Marvin Stone in 1888. Americans in the 19th century liked to drink cold fragrant wine. In order to avoid the hot air in the mouth, the people would not drink it directly, but use hollow natural straw to suck it. However, the natural wheat straw is not only easy to break, but also has the taste of the green barley, which will penetrate into the wine to affect the flavor.

Marvin Stone is a cigarette manufacturer who took inspiration from the cigarette and made a paper straw. The paper straw is of course not broken, and there is no strange smell of wheat straw. Therefore, people not only use it when drinking fragrant wine, but also use it when drinking other refreshing drinks. As the “father of modern straws”, Marvin Stone’s invention is not only effective, but also very human. The thickness is just enough to prevent the drinker from swallowing lemon seeds.

Marvin Stone

Paper straws certainly have weaknesses. After all, they are made of paper, that is, they are made of a waterproof coating and are not as durable. Compared to paper straws, plastic straws are inherently impervious to water, can be thinner and lighter, and have lower manufacturing costs. And the plastic is extremely malleable, allowing the straw to make a variety of interesting shapes and colors. Therefore, the plastic straw immediately became popular in the world. It is considered a great invention, in addition to convenient drinking, it also effectively reduces the incidence of tooth decay.

Plastic straws are the product of modern human civilization, and the straw used by Americans, as well as the same hollow reeds, are the “old straws” used by ancient humans.

02

Drinking with a straw

Interestingly, the straw is now used for drinking beverages, but both its prototype and the invention of the straw in the modern sense are related to wine.

Du Fu once wrote a verse about “Yellow sheep is not awkward, and the wine is still drunk”. What is “Lu wine”? Those Chinese rich second-generation girls who have been approved as vulgar because they drink red wine with straws may know that they will ask Du Fu to be the big flag, because the wine is a wine that is sucked in the barrel with a reed.

In the Ming Dynasty, Yang Shen explained the Luji in the article “Yilin Lushan·Lujiu”: “Lu wine, with the reed as the tube, suck and drink. Today’s wine is also.” This wine is green barley, barley, Sorghum is used as raw material. After cooking, mix it with koji into the altar and cover it with grass. When drinking, first inject boiling water or water into the altar, then use a reed to drink. If you have a guest, Lushui can be said to be a high-standard reception. Everyone takes turns to drink, and then add water, until the taste is light, then eat wine residue. Until today, the Miao and Yi nationalities still retain this hospitality tradition.

Tang Dynasty sippy cup

But if you think that the ancient Chinese habits are so taken from nature, it is really a small look at the wisdom of the ancients.

In recent years, various ancient ceramic exhibitions have occasionally appeared as sippy cups.

For example, the three-color sippy cup in the Tang Dynasty is a new design during the period of greatly improving ceramic technology. It is a strange product in tea sets. Singapore once had the “Tang Dynasty Shipwreck” Treasure Show, which showcases the relics recovered from the shipwreck on the ancient Maritime Silk Road. The Tang Dynasty shipwreck, called the Black Rock, was discovered in 1998 by a German salvage company near a black reef in the waters of Belitung Island, Indonesia. This is an Arab merchant ship carrying Chinese goods transported to Southeast Asia and North Africa via Southeast Asia. The number of Chinese porcelain alone has reached more than 67,000. Because the inscriptions of the Tang Dynasty Baoli two years (826 years) on the porcelain bowl of the Changsha kiln, combined with other artifacts, the age of the ship was confirmed as the first half of the 9th century. In the exhibit, there are four straw cups.

In the Ming and Qing dynasties, ceramic technology has made more progress, and the sippy cup has also appeared in many fine works. For example, in the Guangxu period, the “Taihu Autumn Exercise Memorial Cup” is shaped like a lotus flower. The lotus flower is decorated with pastels. The stem has a stem on one side and connects to the bottom of the cup. This hollow stem is a straw, which is ingenuity.

However, the ceramic sippy cup is limited to the thickness, and the high cost is probably not practical.

The straws used in ancient Europe are estimated to be dominated by natural materials.

Johann Mandeville’s 1371 Sir David Mandeville’s Travels has mentioned straws, a medieval bestseller that tells a lot about travel and religious knowledge, and traces back about a knight’s travel in Europe, Asia and Africa. Most of the folklore is of course fictional. It mentions Ethiopia in Africa, saying that people on a small island are gnomes. They have no mouth and only a small round hole on their faces. They use straws to eat or drink. Because they don’t have a tongue, they can’t talk. They can only rely on sign language and snoring as an aid.

To this day, there are still some drinks in the West, and the tradition of straws made from old natural materials is faintly visible. For example, the famous bloody Mary, this cocktail is mixed with vodka in tomato juice, plus a celery stem, this celery stem is a straw.

Messi drinks mate tea

The Malay tea of ​​the South American continent is also worth mentioning.

Macha tea is not a tea, but a kind of leaf drink. It has been popular in South America since the Inca Empire. This drink is now very popular in Europe and the United States, and is regarded as a national treasure in Argentina. For more than a thousand years, it has not only been a drink, but also a food for hunger. When people encounter natural disasters, the leaves of the horses can not only satisfy their hunger, but also refresh them. During the Spanish colonial period in Argentina, the nomadic Gao Qiao people became the horsemen who transported the ore in the mountain road for the colonists. In the difficult trek, they can only rely on the mate to convey homesickness.

The method of drinking mala tea is different. It is different from the Orientals who make tea in a teapot and then pour it in a teacup. The mate tea uses a special mate teapot. The horse pot teapot made of bamboo or gourd hollow is about the size of a fist and is equipped with a copper straw. The end of the straw inserted into the teapot is slightly larger, has a flat oval shape, and has a mesh filter.

If you pay attention, you will find that in the auditorium of the Argentine Football League, there are always people who watch and drink while holding the mate, and there are always people on the street who gather together and take a teapot to take a drink with a straw. Compared to ceramic straws, traditional copper straws in South America seem to be more practical.

03

Small straw, big industry

The principle of the straw is very simple. When people inhale, the pressure inside the tube will become smaller. In order to balance the air pressure, the atmospheric pressure will force the liquid in the tube to rise. When the inhalation is stopped, the liquid in the tube drops and the pressure returns to equilibrium. Production is not a high-tech, and the technology has not changed much. As for the profit of the straw, it is even thin. Although some of the uniquely designed straws are expensive, most of the straws we see everyday are directly matched to the drinks, or the straws provided in the restaurant, straight and straight, and the original shape is the cheapest. In English, the straw and the straw are the same word straw, unobtrusive, disposable, and extremely meager.

Domestic straw manufacturers have calculated an account, each straw “average sales price of 8 cents, 50% of raw material costs, labor costs 15% to 20%, equipment depreciation, logistics and other costs more than 20%, the final pure The profit is only about 10%. That is to say, we can only earn 8 yuan for producing a straw, which is 0.0008 yuan. In other words, selling 1250 straws can earn one yuan.

But don’t underestimate the industry. The world consumes so many straws a year, and naturally there are companies that can grow bigger.

In the same year, there was a saying that “the world is sucking out of Yiwu”. Yiwu, which is famous for its small commodities, has many straw manufacturers and its products are exported to all parts of the world. But over the years, there have been only two or three straw manufacturers in Yilang, and there are only two children who occupy 20% of the world’s straw production.

In the view of Lou Zhongping, the head of the double boy, he is committed to the straw industry, which is to follow the example of the Western family that only produced one kind of goods for hundreds of years and strives for perfection. Previously, the ISO International Organization for Standardization in Geneva officially issued the ISO International Standard for Polypropylene Drinking Straws to 162 member states around the world. This standard was developed by Double Children. This company has become a veritable international industry game. Rule maker.

According to news reports, Shuangtong now has two-thirds of the patents in the global plastic straw industry, making small straws an invisible champion with an annual output value of over 100 million yuan.

Lou Zhongping said in an interview that he had once questioned the straw industry with low profit margins and erupted his thoughts. However, a trip to Japan in 2000 made him completely change his understanding of straws. At that time, he went to a disposable chopstick factory in Japan. This small factory had only ten sets of production equipment and more than a dozen employees, but the disposable chopsticks produced were as sophisticated as crafts, and the packaging was extremely delicate. . The price is also extremely amazing. The five-packed chopsticks have a factory price of more than 400 yen, equivalent to more than six yuan per pair. It is more than 100 times the wholesale price of similar disposable chopsticks in China.

These companies are very much in Japan and are the best representatives of the craftsmanship. Lou Zhongping is also determined to follow suit and is rooted in the straw industry. Today, Shuangtong’s straws have been exported to Europe and the United States and the most demanding Japan. In addition to ordinary straws, the company also produces a large number of new straws that have higher profits (some products can be sold for a few dollars), such as a haha ​​straw that is convenient for children to take medicine, and a small box is placed in the middle of the straw. Put in the medicine and eat while you play. Another example is a cartoon straw with an animal shape, a windmill straw with a built-in wind wheel that rotates continuously. For adults, there are also “Y”-type couple straws. There is a pink “heart” above the straw. There is a small straw on each side of the “heart”, and a small water flow is placed in the heart-shaped cavity. Check valves and filter devices, such “love straws” are very suitable in wedding banquets and other occasions, the retail price is as high as 8 yuan per piece. There are also labor-saving straws that help the elderly and patients not drink back, and there is also a market.

In order to encourage employees to participate in innovation, Shuangtong holds a product innovation competition every year. Many of the new straw products that are now popular are from the award-winning works of the Innovation Competition.

Nowadays, the output of double children is amazing. Sometimes, hundreds of straws are produced in one day. Some European and American customers can once pack the annual output. However, Lou Zhongping believes that large customers will drive down product profits, and once the cooperation is interrupted, it will have a great impact. Therefore, he ingeniously put forward the “small customer principle”: that is, the largest customer order is not allowed to exceed 3% of the double childhood output, otherwise it would rather give up, so that the company is no longer subject to a certain two large customers, increasing the industry discourse right.

04

Will the straw return to the tradition?

The biggest problem facing the straw industry is the existence of three no straws. In recent years, many media have done relevant news, reporting that there are problems with the straws served in restaurants, cafes, and tea shops. In the small shop mentioned in the news, the straws are often exposed and there is no packaging. These unpackaged straws are much more expensive than the individually packaged straws and are of mixed quality. Like some straw tea shops, the straws look colorful, but they smell obvious plastic. The wholesale price is one pack of two yuan, a total of one hundred, and even lower prices, the cost can be imagined. At such a low cost, quality cannot be guaranteed at all.

Some investigations have found that the “three no” color straws are flammable, and the plastic taste is very strong during the burning process. The darkest color of the black straw is the most pungent, and there is a lot of black smoke in the burning process. The substance of the tears.

In contrast, qualified products burn less odor, have substantially no smoke, and are relatively clean. Moreover, the more transparent the straw, the less the impurities.

In fact, the national standard for polypropylene drinking straws has already been issued in China, stipulating that disposable plastic straws are food-related products, and manufacturers must obtain production licenses for food-related products issued by the quality supervision department. On the outer packaging, there must be QS food quality and safety signs, and the relevant materials, factory names, factory sites and other contents should be marked according to the regulations. But those three no straws, some made of waste polypropylene, some even made of industrial and medical waste, contain a variety of harmful substances, can not be used, otherwise it will cause harm to the digestive system, liver, etc., can also lead to precocious puberty, Infertility, even cancer.

How to judge whether the straw is good or bad?

The first is “look”, it depends on the outsourcing of the straw is equipped with no QS mark; the straw has color, if there is color, the safety will be reduced, the deep color should pay special attention; if there is black spot impurity or broken inside the straw The bubble indicates that it is a substandard product.

Followed by “smell”, you should smell the smell of pungent nose before the straw is in contact with the beverage. The third is to squeeze the pinch. If the pipette is flat without the elastic pinch, it means that the straw is made of a relatively thin material, the quality is poor, and it is easy to be sucked during use.

Of course, with the increasing awareness of environmental protection, many people believe that even a qualified straw can cause a lot of pollution.

British environmentalists believe that plastic straws are difficult to recycle and are “the ultimate waste of mankind”, requiring taxation on plastic straws. According to their investigation, the life of a plastic straw is only about 20 minutes, and then it is abandoned, and the restaurant and bar will not recycle it. Therefore, they suggested emulating the tax on plastic shopping bags, collecting taxes on each plastic straw, and recommending the use of paper straws.

There are some more thorough practices than the “return” from plastic pipettes to paper pipettes. In the past two years, someone participated in a design competition to win the grand prize. The concept is to return to the straw straw.

Under the general trend of advocating environmental protection and returning to nature, will there be new opportunities for the straw industry?

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