SEE YOU NEVER, PLASTIC.
OUr journey To Find the Perfect Straw
A year ago, San Francisco announced one of the world’s strictest plastic straw bans at our very own Fillmore store, and our ordinance became the blueprint for cities and countries across the world. For us personally, it’s the ambitious task of eliminating single-use plastic from all of our stores, but no matter how ambitious, it’s a step worth taking - because the plastic straw ban has always been symbolic of a larger movement. It’s the first of many steps toward a more sustainable future.
To do our part, we immediately started researching the ideal straw-alternative. Compostable wasn’t enough, as it acts a lot like normal plastic (refusing to biodegrade and releasing gasses far worse than carbon dioxide) so our search was not only for an alternative straw big enough to fit boba, it needed to first and foremost be biodegradable. After intensive research trying out every imaginable material (rice, pasta, paper, metal, glass to name a few) we’re so excited to introduce the solution we’ve landed on for now - biodegradable bamboo-fiber straw.
Why it Matters To uS
In being the leaders of the plastic-ban movement within the industry, and arguably across multiple industries, we want to leverage our voice and platform to inspire others to be mindful of their own actions and plastic-footprint, too. It's about creating dialogue with non-believers that think "me not using one plastic straw/lid/cup will not make a difference" and about empowering those already fighting for a more sustainable future. We need to change our actions from a place of a "make - use - dispose." to a place of "make - use - reuse". And until we understand and believe that our thoughtful actions can have a positive ripple effect, we have a lot of work to do.
Why it should Matter to you too.
Earth is our home, and we need to do everything we can to clean-it-up. Right now, we are living in what looks like a hoarder’s house. But the time has come to Marie Kondo the sh*t out of it. Because if not - none of this will even matter, if we have no place to live. This is about protecting all life on Earth, and making every effort we can not to turn a blind eye to the problem.
It’s On Us to Suck Less.
We always think about the long game -- one in which our society is sustainable and always pushing toward progress. It's why we chose to use organic milk before anyone else. It's why we spend more money on our team than almost anyone in the entire industry.
No single boba shop or manufacturer is going to take on the risk of converting over to biodegradable plastic when the price premium is so high - and truthfully, no single boba shop can take on the risk, but one single boba shop (and their community) can surely start the movement. It's what we did for our industry in 2011. We'll do it again for the food & beverage industry in 2019.
We hope you feel inspired to act, even if it’s by doing something small. It’s time to start to stop acting like consumers, and start taking on the responsibility of citizens.
“you have a whole life in the outdoors, you realize you have a sense of responsibility to protect these Wild places”
— Yvon Chouinard, 180 degrees South
In our efforts to continue to support and pave the way for the ban of single-use plastic, we wanted to do something special for Earth Day to show our support and celebration of the actions we can take to help Earth. This year, we created Earth-day t-shirts for our entire team, made also of bamboo fibers as a nod to our new biodegradable straws.
We took the time to hang-out and casually interview one of our team members, Karen, who is studying environmental science.
What made you want to study Environmental Science?
“Well, I took a class in high school and fell in love with it.”
What is your biggest pet peeve related to the treatment of the environment?
“Littering! Especially in bigger, populated cities where trash cans are provided on almost all streets.”
What is something we can actively do daily to lessen our footprint?
“Something we can all do to lessen our carbon footprint is growing all of our own food or shopping locally. In studying 13,000 cities, researchers found that many cities’ carbon footprints are up to 60 percent larger than they realize. This is mainly due to the emissions generated from imported goods and products produced elsewhere.”
Karen sent us this really interesting paper that you can also read here.
What does Earth Day mean to you?
“Earth Day means appreciating life as it is on this planet! Appreciating all the different cultures, plants, animals, and people!”
Sustainable Options for you
It all starts with consuming less waste, and using reusable drinkware can make all of the difference! Shop our reusable hydroflask, metal straw, and mason jar. The cool thing about our mason jar is that it comes with a custom lid specifically made to fit a boba straw.
Testing, testing - 1, 2, 3. Watch how we follow the life-cycle of our biodegradable bamboo straw. Follow our journey on our instagram.
It all starts with the straw
Finding an alternative to single-use plastic straws was the first task we wanted to tackle, which meant we needed to do our homework. After over a year of research, (and if you wanted to follow along!) read through the history of Straws below and how we came about choosing our new Biodegradable Bamboo Straws.
THE FIRST STRAW
Our friends at 99% Invisible did a wonderful episode on the history of straws, how it touches many points in history, such as innovations in public health, the food industry, and the environment. This movement is beyond us, and we want to honor that.
Even though it started with paper straws, our habits as consumers quickly shifted demand. As a result of American industrialism, urban life and hamburger-loving teens in suburbia, plastic straws became the new black.
As we quickly felt the weight of our careless consumerism, the introduction of PLA straws came into play. And although these were made from renewable resources (such as sugarcane and corn starch) - they actually become another form of plastic that takes years to breakdown in landfills and oceans.
San Francisco Straw Ordinance
We teamed up with Supervisor Katy Tang and Mayor London Breed to announce the ban of single-use plastic straws in hopes of reducing landfill and incinerated waste by 2020.
Read more about the San Francisco Straw Ordinance on Hoodline
For now - this is what we are striving for. Material that will decompose on it’s own, and not leave a trace in our oceans or landfills.
THIS ISN'T THE FINAL STRAW
Stay tuned on our search to find the most sustainable options for the industry. The journey has just begun.