I have an exciting update to share!
Last summer, my good friend Porter approached me with a new business idea, SOstraws–standing for Save the Ocean Straws. At an internship in DC, he noticed the prevalence of paper straws in all the restaurants and decided to look into the matter. Porter then discovered just how terrible plastic straws are for the environment as one of the biggest culprits behind harming marine life, and being among he top five items found in ocean clean ups. Did you know, it is projected by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight?
Unfortunately, Porter also quickly found out that the paper straws these restaurants were carrying… were terrible quality. Someone needed to step in and create a high-quality, soggy-proof, no-weird-taste paper straw. Knowing how much I care for the environment, Porter asked me if I wanted to join him as co-founder. We decided to donate 30% of our profits to ocean saving charities such as the Coral Reef Foundation, the Ocean Conservancy, and Oceana and hope to expand the SO-brand to more paper, environmentally friendly alternatives!
Since then, we’ve made huge strides as a start-up. We tried out dozens of brands of paper straws in search of the best one. As you may know, I’m a smoothie fiend, so that was a huge factor in my judging. After paper straw after paper straw, we finally found our SOstraw, and went with a bamboo theme as our signature print. Our straws are thicker than the paper straws you can find at the grocery store. And the plastic straws you find at the grocery stores? Take an average of 200 years to biodegrade, meaning theoretically, every plastic straw every made still exists! Our straws take 30-60 days.
After picking out the straw, I designed our logo, box, website, and began networking on our social media accounts. I’m excited to share that we had our first bulk order a few weeks ago, and it was with Auburn University’s Tiger Dining! Tiger Dining supplied our straws at the on-campus restaurant, Fresh from the Plains, a restaurant serving locally grown food. We’ve also come in contact with several of the local restaurants and coffee shops in Auburn and plan to announce several more partnerships soon 🙂
I’m on spring break right now, visiting my dad in Orange Beach, and ended up selling a case of straws to a Mexican restaurant in Mobile, Amelia’s! The owner said that they will be perfect for Cinco de Mayo. I keep SOstraws in a toothbrush travel case in my purse so I can use one when I go out to eat.
I’m guilty of using plastic straws in the past, so we don’t mean to shame anyone. Straws are very much needed by some, like those with disabilities, or even those with sensitive teeth (such as myself). Skeptics may believe something as small as switching to paper straws is like “spitting in the wind” (CNN), but we believe the smallest steps can lead to the biggest actions. Many of us want to protect our environment, but feel overwhelmed by the possibility of drastic life-changes, as they often are not something that can be accomplished overnight. Switching to paper straws and refusing plastic straws is a simple change we can make, and we hope to serve as an empowering first step towards protecting our environment that can lead to many others.
You can learn more about us at our website, sostraws.com. As this is my personal blog, I’m going to try not to bombard it with just straw posts! You can find more updates on SOstraws on our website’s blog and our social media. Our most recent blog post is about our current challenge, a plastic-free Lent.