Staramaki – a straw made naturally from wheat
Staramaki is a straw made of wheat. It is produced by a social cooperative KoinSep in Kilkis, situated in rural Northern Greece. The most widely produced local product – wheat – is used to create a viable eco-friendly alternative to single use plastic straws. At the same time they create employment opportunities and promote social cohesion, as well as local and regional development.
The Staramaki products are made from the stalk that is left over when wheat grains are harvested. The European Commission's announcement in 2020 on the future banning of several single-use plastic products has highlighted the need for more sustainable alternatives.
Rural depopulation is a serious issue in all of the countries of Western Europe. It is mainly a question of economic opportunities. The trends in Greece and the rest of Europe reflect a decades-long worldwide population movement from rural to urban areas. The problem of an ageing population is particularly affecting the Greek countryside. The recent economic depression, the global pandemic and social crisis have made the need for innovation to address social challenges even more apparent and acute. It has led to debate and concerns about how to pursue a different approach towards achieving well-being.
Through social innovation, Staramaki is bringing both growth and social value. It is demonstrating that there is room for innovative thought in Greece, and that circular economy can become a fertile field for such innovative actions.
Read more on an Interreg Europe report on Staramaki here.
- Successfully reaching an audience of 2.6m people through social media, Staramaki hit the Greek market in 2019 and has so far sold 300 000 units, through both retail and wholesale channels. It has already cooperated with well-known global brands such as Nestlé and L’Oréal.
- Staramaki SCE employs 12 locals and recognised refugees. Once scaled up, it will have the potential to provide a safe, horizontally owned and managed working environment for more than 20 people within a 3-year period.
- In 2021 the aim is to produce 1.5m straws. All Staramaki profits go to funding a local social housing model to support recognised refugees no longer eligible for state support programmes as well as members of the local community at risk of homelessness and social exclusion.