Most small business owners, and even your average Joe (or Joanna), know that these days supply chain issues are the norm.
Karrie Laughton, owner of Lux Lounge, found herself in the midst of constant order delays for paper straw products. She wanted Lux to eliminate single-use plastics, but the endless hassle to try to get the earth-friendly straws left her feeling desperate.
Something changed when Karrie saw the now famous viral video of a turtle who had a plastic straw stuck in its nasal passage, and she suddenly felt the deep weight of her business having contributed to a global crisis. Compelled to do something real for her community and the planet, she says she exclaimed half-jokingly, “I’m gonna make my own paper straws!” When she did some research and found it could actually be an attainable goal she called her mom Kathy, coaxed her out of retirement, and Roc Paper Straws was born!
Paper straws pose a significant advantage over plastic which leaches chemicals, clogs our waterways, harms wildlife, and honestly threatens our future environmental stability. Not only are the single-use plastic straws themselves a problem, but in her research Karrie was surprised to learn that ALL of the paper straw options on Amazon ship from halfway around the world, making a much larger carbon footprint than she originally thought. Also, according to Karrie, “They usually come wrapped in f*#king plastic!” She also cautions that PLA straws, often made from corn by-products and touted to be more earth-friendly, decompose in almost the exact same way as plastic. So while the chemical impact may be better, the waste created doesn’t change.
In a recent article published by the South Wedge Quarterly, Katie Libby writes, “Paper straws are biodegradable and will decompose back into the earth within 2-6 weeks. On average, a paper straw with normal use will hold up for 3-4 hours in liquid, which is generally more time than needed to consume a beverage. It is intended to break down fairly quickly which significantly reduces the impact on our earth and wildlife. Switching to paper straws will not save the planet on its own, but it will reduce our carbon footprint, and every little bit helps.”
Many people feel that listening to the news and digging through mountains of articles about sustainability can be overwhelming. It can leave us feeling like there’s nothing we can do to make a difference. At Petit Poutinerie, we push past it by making small steps whenever possible. Reducing waste is all of our responsibility and we hope you will keep an open mind when you see that cute little paper straw in your drink. Instead of being discouraged, get motivated to make a difference. Just remember the Roc Paper Straws tagline, “Suck it up!”
Other small steps we take at Petit Poutinerie include fueling one of our trucks with biodiesel made from our own recycled fryer oil, collecting compost for Impact Earth, and limiting our truck service radius to 30 miles( knowing that large trucks like ours can contribute to air pollution and fuel inefficiency). Also we’re proud to have used biodegradable packaging for our poutines since day one!
Roc Paper Straws is initially supplying to local bars and restaurants – we have the distinction of being their first customer – but they do also offer the option for anyone to buy straws directly from their website. For those of us that just gotta have that bendy straw, Roc Paper Straws plans to eventually add that option, and they are also planning to offer custom branding and colorways in the near future.
We wish Roc Paper Straws all the best, and encourage all of you to shop local, it’s actually one of the most significant ways we can all support a healthier planet!
Do you have ideas for local, sustainable vendors and services? Please reach out to us and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org