New 2020 Organic Recycling Rules for California

2020 is here, and that means new laws took effect on New Year’s Day. Starting January 1st, the State of California now requires more restaurants to recycle their organic waste. Restaurants producing 2 cubic yards of organic waste weekly will now need to recycle them. California’s limit used to be 4 cubic yards, so the new limit affects more businesses than ever.

 

Here at OkStraw Paper Straws, we think California’s push for more organic recycling is a necessary move. If we want to fight climate change and sustain food production, then we need organic recycling. So let’s unpack what changes the new law brings, and how it affects your business.

What Exactly is Organic Waste?

Some folks may not know what’s considered “organic waste”, so let’s clear up the confusion. Also called “green waste”, organic waste spans a list of different materials. Organic waste includes uneaten food (organic or non-organic), landscape trimmings like grass, leaves or branches, and compostable paper. 

 

Compostable paper includes food-soiled paper, and biodegradable paper. Since OkStraw Paper Straws are both compostable and biodegradable, they technically count as organic waste. Because restaurants deal in food, they’ll generate organic waste. Whether it’s an uneaten potato or lettuce stumps, this organic waste needs to be recycled. If your restaurant produces 2 or more cubic yards of organic waste every week, then you need to recycle.

Why Organic Recycling is so Important

So know what counts as organic waste, but why does California care so much about it? California cares because organic recycling helps fight climate change. Organic waste that decomposes in the landfill produces large amounts of methane. Methane is far more aggressive than CO2, so we don’t want large emissions. 

Organic recycling helps capture these methane emissions, and lowers greenhouse gasses. As we at OkStraw Paper Straws know the threat climate change poses to everyone, we think organic recycling is a mandatory step to take.

 

The other reason why organic recycling is so important is that: recycling. Soil from organic waste is rich in nutrients, which helps farmers grow crops more efficiently. Organic waste is an agricultural goldmine, so why let it rot away in a landfill? Seems like wasted money and potential, right? We think so, which is why we at OkStraw ensured that our paper straws are organically recyclable.

California’s Organic Recycling Goals

This organic recycling law wasn’t the first one the California state legislature passed. In 2014, Governor Brown signed a bill into law, requiring a 50% reduction in organic disposal in 5 years. Five years later, however, California didn’t meet its recycling goal. By mandating organic recycling for more restaurants, California is serious about finally hitting this target.

 

With more restaurants falling under the new organic recycling law, California is on its way to finally meeting this goal. California allows some exemptions, however. These include places without local organic recyclers, and restaurants without the space for organic recycling containers. Eventually, we at OkStraw Paper Straws want to see ALL organic waste in California get recycled. 

 

Are Paper Straws Organically Recyclable?

Given this news about changes to California’s organic recycling law, we started thinking. “Are OkStraw paper straws organically recyclable?”. Well looking back, California considers compostable paper with food stains organically recyclable. OkStraw Paper Straws are certainly compostable, and they absorb whatever drink they were in. So it’s safe to say that YES, OkStraw paper straws can go in the organic recycling. 

 

Not all paper straws are organically recyclable, though. Some paper straws have wax or even plastic linings, so they can’t be organically recycled. Whereas OkStraw organic paper straws have none of these strengtheners added. We only sustainably sourced paper, vegan-safe glues and food safe mineral oils in our paper straws. 

 

Available in countless sizes, custom prints and in 3 or 4 ply, there’s an OkStraw paper straw for every California restaurant. From ADA-compliant paper bendy straws to bubble tea paper straws, we have them all. So to California restaurants out there, get 2020 in full swing, and join the Cause for Organic Recyclable Paper Straws!

Happy New Years from OkStraw Paper Straws

Looking Forward to 2020

Happy New Years from all of us at OkStraw Paper Straws! 2019’s coming to a close, the fireworks are getting prepared, and the drinks are coming in fast and strong. Before we hit 2020, let’s take a look back at all 2019 brought to us. 

2019 was a big year for OkStraw Paper Straws. From trade shows to all-new products, we hit the ground running, and never looked back. We donated thousands of dollars worth of paper straws to local food banks and volunteered to help out in the kitchen at Father Joe’s Village. We helped clean up plastic pollution throughout San Diego and plan to continue helping the community into 2020. So grab a drink and a paper straw, and reminisce for just a bit.

Check out our super popular Boba Paper Straws!

Lots of Trade Shows in 2019

This year, OkStraw Paper Straws made several trade show debuts, and we hit it off big! March saw us at the International Foodservice & Restaurant Show in New York City, rubbing elbows with the big shots. Come May, we packed our windbreakers, and headed off to the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago. 

 

By July, we packed our sunscreen, and jetted off to Orlando, where we attended the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show. August was another hot month for OkStraw, starting in New Orleans. We hit the Big Easy, and made our debut at the Louisiana Restaurant Show. 

We finished August at Western Food Expo in Los Angeles, establishing our reputation from coast to coast. We were even featured in Slate Magazine article, which was also pretty cool! 2019 was OkStraw’s national breakout year, and by golly is the jet lag kicking in!

Several Great New Paper Straw Products

This year saw a ton of new OkStraw paper straws to defeat those pesky plastic straws. Over the Summer, our paper spoon straws became a must have for any slushie drink. From there, we demonstrated our engineering abilities with our record-setting paper tiki straws. Completing this triumphant trio were our ADA-compliant paper bendy straws, delivering the final coup de grace to plastic straws. 

OkStraw also introduced more choices to our existing paper straws. New for 2019 are 4-ply options for our paper bubble tea straws, jumbo cocktail straws, and giant paper straws. So no matter what your needs are, there’s an OkStraw paper straw for you. We’re proud of what we brought to the market in 2019, and 2020’s also gonna be a blast!

Click here to see our super strong 4-PLY Paper Straws
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Let's Ring in the New Year!

So now that 2019’s under our belts, let’s grab 2020 by the horns! Next decade’s going to see new consumer trends, new environmental laws, and greater calls for environmental justice. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we’re up to any challenges that come our way. 

We love New Year’s resolutions, but we make them too hard. Well here’s a New Year’s resolution that’s easier than any you made before. Forget no junk food, or learning how to hula hoop. If you want to make the biggest difference and put in the least amount of effort, then switch to paper straws. It’s so easy that even Californians like us at OkStraw can do it!

Switching to paper straws isn’t just the easiest resolution ever, it also makes a HUGE difference. No more plastic straws means healthier oceans, less plastic waste, and a lower carbon footprint. So grab a drink and an OkStraw paper straw, watch the fireworks, and have an awesome New Year!

Happy Holidays from OkStraw

Christmas Paper Straws

It’s December, and you know what that means? The holidays are coming, and we’re in a festive mood at OkStraw Paper Straws. We’re writing letters to Santa, hanging up our stockings, and hoping to find paper straws under the Christmas tree!

 

Here at OkStraw, we have paper straws to fit your holiday needs. Holidays are special occasions, so special occasions call for special drinks, and of course paper straws. So grab a drink and a paper straw, because we have some beverage ideas for your holiday festivities.

Paper Straws for your Cocktail Needs

We love a great cocktail for the holidays, and OkStraw has some ideas for you! If you’re celebrating Kwanzaa, then give this classic cocktail a try. Invented by the first African American cocktail book author Tom Bullock, the Stinger celebrates a true trailblazer. The Stinger consists of brandy and creme de menthe, a mint-flavored spirit. Serve it over ice in a cocktail glass, complete with an OkStraw Paper Bar Stir. 

Hannukah’s on the way, and that means here comes the Manischewitz! This sweet kosher wine is a holiday staple, and it makes for great cocktails, too! Mix Manischewitz, lemon-lime soda, fruits and vodka for a Hannukah Sangria. Serve with a paper bar stir, or if you’re feeling especially generous, try OkStraw paper tiki straws! L’Chaim!

Eggnog for Grownups and Wintry Boba

Eggnog is an old childhood Christmas drink favorite, and it’s for adults too! Adult eggnog is your regular nog, but with a kick from brandy, bourbon or rum. One or two shots per serving should do the trick, and is best served chilled. Now a heavy drink like eggnog calls for a tough straw, and that’s where OkStraw Giant Paper Straws come in. Available in festive colors, OkStraw Giant Paper Straws are perfect for your Christmas beverage needs.

After all, who doesn’t love wintry flavored bubble tea? Just prepare boba tea the way you do, and add your prefered seasonal spice powder or syrup. Our favorites are peppermint and pumpkin spice boba tea. Of course no boba drink is complete without an OkStraw Bubble Paper Straw! Available in 3 or 4 ply and in different designs, our paper boba straws are perfect for any occasion. 

Deck the Halls with Paper Straws

Ok, our rhyming is still a work in progress, but you get the idea. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or all three, choose OkStraw paper straws. Available in fun, festive colors, our paper straws are the perfect compliment to your holiday celebrations. 

 

OkStraw biodegradable paper straws come from sustainable forestry practices, and we only use organic materials. 100 percent plastic free and with no animal byproducts, OkStraw paper straws are perfect for any occasion. From all of us at OkStraw, happy holidays, and a very merry Cause for Paper Straws!

Nestlé, Tim Hortons Canada’s Top Plastic Polluters

Tim Hortons and Nestle Plastic Waste

Greenpeace Canada just named Neslté and Tim Hortons as the country’s top two plastic polluters. The NGO ranked these two offenders by branded plastic items volunteers collected from beaches, and 2019 marks their second year for topping the list. 

Starbucks, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola rounded out Greenpeace’s top 5 list, after Nestle and Tim Hortons. As with other countries, large corporations are huge contributors to plastic waste in Canada. We at OkStraw Paper Straw hope this news encourages more Canadians to demand for greater corporate responsibility. 

Plastic Pollution

Greenpeace ranked these top Canadian polluters based on branded items identified during shore and beach cleanups, as part of the global Break Free from Plastic movement. These beach cleanups took place in cities across Canada, including Halifax, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. 

Greenpeace Canada comprised a top 10 list of most collected pieces of plastic waste in Canada. The list includes food wrappers, cigarette filters, bags, and packaging. Ranking in 4th place were plastic straws. This list doesn’t surprise us at OkStraw Paper Straws, since so many North Americans use plastic straws. In the US alone, people use 500 million straws every day.

Where's the Corporate Responsibility?

In response to Greenpeace’s scathing report, these five companies explained their efforts to limit plastic waste in Canada. Their efforts include using recyclable plastics, and switching to compostable items. Are these efforts this enough, though? The short answer is “no”, according to Sarah King, head of Greenpeace Canada’s plastics campaign. 

King explains that using recyclable plastics isn’t enough if people don’t properly dispose of them. Using compostables isn’t enough either, because Greenpeace still found intact items like bioplastic cutlery on beaches. Unlike true biodegradables like OkStraw paper straws, many compostables still need to be broken down through industrial facilities. Because these companies consistently rank as top plastic polluters in Canada, they clearly aren’t doing enough.

Paper Straws for a Plastic-free Canada

With Prime Minister Trudeau’s government pledging to ban single-use plastics, these corporations have their work cut out. While these corporations need to improve, what changes can the average Canadian make? We at OkStraw Paper Straws believe more than you think. You can cut down on plastic waste in Canada by switching reusable and biodegradable alternatives. 

Bring your own coffee cup , shop with you own reusable bag, and replace single-use plastics with biodegradable alternatives. OkStraw’s biodegradable paper straws break down naturally. That means no special processing, and no littering Canadian beaches. So to our Neighbors to the North, demand corporate responsibility, ditch single-use plastics, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

OkStraw Paper Straws Celebrates Thanksgiving

It’s late October, and you know what that means, don’t you? Yup, Thanksgiving is coming up, and we at OkStraw can’t wait! Flights are booked, family trucksters are packed with the whole family, and the traffic is an absolute nightmare. It’s all worth it, though, because we get to eat and spend time with the family!

Many of us picture Thanksgiving as that old cliché. We’re surrounding a gigantic turkey with tons of sides, trying to forget about those embarrassing, itchy sweaters we have on. Not so fast, however, because just like America, Thanksgivings are becoming diverse by the year. Now let’s grab a drink, get our paper straws ready, and talk about Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving from Plymouth to Liberia

We usually consider the 1621 feast at Plymouth as the first Thanksgiving. Pilgrims sailed from across Europe, and many perished during a harsh Northeastern winter. An indigenous Pautuxet man named Squanto taught the surviving pilgrims how to grow crops, and fish the waters. After the first successful harvest, a three-day feast was held, becoming first Thanksgiving. 

In 1863, President Lincoln set Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of November, and every president since kept the tradition. Thanksgiving isn’t just confined to America, other countries also celebrate it. Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October. The Liberia in West Africa also celebrates Thanksgiving, and so do the Caribbean countries St. Lucia and Grenada.

The Diverse Thanksgiving Dinner

While we may there there’s a typical Thanksgiving table spread, that really isn’t the case. In fact, many American states have their own unique regional dishes. Florida has key lime pies, while Georgia’s famous for its pecan pies. Mushroom gravy replaces turkey gravy in Washington State, and many Hawai’ians use sweet Okinawan Purple Potatoes. 

Not only does every American region bring its own dish to the Thanksgiving people, so does our multicultural nation. An Egyptian American family might enjoy stuffed grape leaves as a side dish, and many Mexican American families incorporate dishes from their culture into Thanksgiving dinners. Thanksgiving is richer and more diverse than ever thanks to the people of America, and we at OkStraw Paper Straws love celebrating that. 

OkStraw donated over $1500 dollars worth of paper straws to the San Diego Food Bank to show our thanks to the local community!

Paper Straws for Thanksgiving Dinner

So now we know, Thanksgiving is more diverse than we’d ever imagined. But what do all of these Thanksgivings have in common? Everyone needs a paper straw, of course! Here at OkStraw, we created our own Thanksgiving dinner tradition. At our Thanksgiving dinner table, we ditched the plastic and switched to paper straws. We hope our tradition becomes part of every Thanksgiving dinner, because we all need a healthy planet. Additionally, OkStraw donated over $1500 dollars worth of paper straws to the San Diego Food Bank to show our thanks to the local community!

At OkStraw, we use organic biodegradable materials to make a paper straw for every occasion. Perhaps Boba Tea is your Thanksgiving tradition? That’s where our bubble tea paper straws come in! Or maybe you love NFL on Thanksgiving Day? Grab a box of our Football Paper Straws! No matter the tradition, make our paper straws your newest Thanksgiving addition. From all of us at OkStraw, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and welcome to our Cause for Paper Straws!

unilever corporate social responisibility okstraw paper straws

Unilever Cuts New Plastics Use in Half

Unilever and Eliminating Plastic Waste

If you have ever used a food or cosmetic product, chances are Unilever made it. Based out of the UK, Unilever is one of the world’s biggest consumer goods companies, and it owns hundreds of brands. While massive, however, Unilever still need to meet consumer demands for corporate social responsibility. Today, rampant consumerism is out, and ethnical consumption is in.

Which is why Unilever is addressing its plastic usage problem. In response to demands from young consumers, Unilever will halve the 700,000 tons of new plastic it uses annually. Setting 2025 as its goal, Unilever will both use more recycled plastic, and cut down on plastic packaging. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we’re excited to see another corporation embrace social responsibility, and cut out unnecessary plastic waste. 

There's Too Much Plastic Waste Here Already

If you’re up to date with the news, then you’ll know that plastics threaten our planet. Large plastics kill marine animals, and they break down into microplastics. Microplastics get into our oceans, ground, air, and even our bodies. Thanks to new innovations, however, we can now harvest and recycle microplastics in the ocean. We already have too many plastics little our planet, so recycling what’s already here is a big social responsibility. 

 

Unlike recycled plastics, new or “virgin” plastics are made from freshly extracted oil. Using virgin plastics both adds to the amount already choking our planet, and contributes to climate change. All of these reasons are more than enough to cut out virgin plastics, and recycle what’s already here. While OkStraw Paper Straws wants all companies to eventually phase out plastic, we support Unilever switching to recycled plastic.

The People Want Corporate Social Responsibility

If the environment wasn’t enough for Unilever to change, then consumer demand should be. Nowadays, making a good product isn’t enough to bring in loyal customers. More and more people, especially millennials, want to buy from socially responsible companies. In the US alone, 59 percent of shoppers polled said they value a company’s social stances. 

By cutting is plastics usage, Unilever demonstrates its social responsibility. As a result, Unilever will both protect the planet, and bring in more ethical consumers. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we can’t think of a better two-for-one deal. While phasing out plastics should be Unilever’s goal, halving them is a great step toward achieving it.

Going Naked for the Planet

In order to reduce its plastics usage, Unilever will roll out more “naked products”. Naked products are named such because they aren’t clothed in unnecessary plastic packaging. Unnecessary plastic packing hurts the environment, so cutting it out is a welcome change. 

Other socially responsible companies already do this, like cosmetics maker LushWe also practice sustainable packaging at OkStraw Paper Straws. We offer either naked or paper-wrapped straws, and use biodegradable Kraft paper packaging. Naked products both cut out plastic waste, and save money in packaging costs. 

Let's Give Plastic the Boot

While we at OkStraw Paper Straws believe in cutting out plastics altogether, we applaud Unilever for making changes. Ending virgin plastics both fights climate change, and challenges us to recycle more. We already don’t recycle enough in Western countries, so ending virgin plastics will force us to do better.

With the European Union phasing out single-use plastics by 2021, Unilever’s announcement couldn’t come sooner. We at OkStraw Paper Straws are excited to see a big corporation get with the times, and lead by example. While small businesses like OkStraw do our part to heal the planet, we need the big companies on board with us. So we invite Unilever to cut out plastic, embrace social responsibility, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

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New Method Recycles ALL Plastic Waste

New Method Recycles ALL Plastic Waste

By now, you’re probably well aware that there’s too much plastic waste littering our planet. There’s plastic in the ocean, plastic in the air, and even plastic in the soil. Clearly we don’t need any new plastic, so we need to recycle what’s here.

A research group in Sweden just discovered a new method of recycling plastics. What’s even more exciting is that this method can recycle all plastics. While we at OkStraw Paper Straws encourage switching to biodegradable alternatives, we’re excited to hear about this new plastic recycling method.

Too Much Plastics Already

Plastic waste is hurting our planet, and in more ways than we ever thought. Not only do plastic straws kill marine animals, but now microplastics in soil hurt earthworms, endangering food supplies. Clearly, we don’t need any more new plastics littering our planet, so let’s manage what’s already here. 

 

Corporations like Unilever are swearing off virgin plastics, and are halving their plastic usage. Whereas companies like OkStraw Paper Straws offer biodegradable alternatives to plastic. But what about reusing plastic waste? New approaches for microplastics harvesting like Ocean Cleanup show promise, but we need a serious step up in recycling.

A Game-Changing Method

Solving the plastic recycling issue now shows real promise, thanks to Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Professor Henrik Thunman and his research group experimented by heating up plastics, breaking them down into carbon atoms. Thunman’s group then captured these atoms, and rendered them back into new-quality plastic. 

The results from Chalmers research group are an eye opener. Not only does this method yield new plastic, but it also can recycle all forms of plastics. This means flimsy, non-recyclable items like plastic straws and bags can now be recycled using this method. While we at OkStraw Paper Straws believe people should transition away from plastic, these results show incredible promise.

 

A Win-Win Recycling Solution

This plastic recycling method shows great potential to fight plastic waste for two major reasons. Firstly, because this method yields new-quality plastics, so there’s even less reason to use virgin plastics. 

Secondly, since all plastics are recyclable, there’s a huge economic incentive for harvesting plastics, and against dumping them. As much as we detest plastics at OkStraw Paper Straws, this recycling method is one of the best ideas we’ve seen so far.

Responsible Plastic Recycling

Now make no mistake, we at OkStraw Paper Straws still believe people should switch from plastic to biodegradable alternatives. However, we do realize that the road to a plastic-free future is a long one that requires transitions. Therefore, we must do everything we can to recover plastic from the environment, and repurpose it responsibly. 

 

Responsible plastic repurposing to OkStraw Paper Straws means not making more plastic bags or plastic straws. Let’s only recycle plastic into items that aren’t single use, and switch to biodegradable alternatives for items that are. Switching to paper straws and paper foodware cuts down on plastic to recover, and energy to recycle it. So do your part, pass on those single-use plastics, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

Patagonia Champions Corporate Social Responsibility

Patagonia's Corporate Social Responsibility

We’ve all heard the phrase in one way or another. “We live in a throwaway society!”, where everything is destined for the landfill, and nothing is made to last. It’s just that at this stage of capitalism, corporate social responsibility is a thing of the past. 

That’s how Patagonia’s CEO Rose Marcario feels, and she’s determined to change it. By emphasizing repairability, reusability, quality and social causes, Patagonia is setting the pace for other companies to follow. OkStraw Paper Straws would like to highlight Patagonia, and how they inspired us to prioritize social responsibility as a company.

59 percent of American shoppers believe a company’s values are important.

Corporate Social Responsibility Pays!

When consumerism runs rampant, buying stuff takes the front seat to everything else. Electronics become unrepairable, and clothes fall apart before they’re out of fashion. Consumerism both maxes out people’s credit cards, and it destroys our planet. Producing throwaway goods increases greenhouse gases, and throwing them away causes pollution. 

If want a healthy planet, then corporate social responsibility must replace rampant consumerism. Companies like OkStraw Paper Straws and Patagonia accepted the challenge. Nowadays, too, corporate social responsibility means new and loyal customers.  In a recent survey, 59 percent of American shoppers believe a company’s values are important. So being socially responsible is both good for the planet, and for business!

 

Corporate Change Through Activism

Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard wanted Patagonia to make great products, while championing corporate social responsibility. Chouinard did this by blending environmentalism with business as Patagonia’s model. Thanks to visionaries like Chouinard, more companies like OkStraw Paper Straws can adopt this model, while staying competitive.

Not only is Patagonia an activist corporation, but it also supports activists. In 2016, Patagonia gave 100 percent ($10 million) of their Black Friday sales to environmental groups. And on September 20th, Patagonia temporarily closed its doors and joined the 2019 Climate Strike. Additionally, Patagonia donates 1 percent of all its sales to environmental causes. 

Corporate Sustainability Means Quality

Part of responsible business practices is focusing on quality over quantity. Patagonia does this by making repairable clothes instead of throwaway alternatives. What goes into products also matters, and that’s why Patagonia sacrificed sales profits to only use organic cotton. Repairing clothes cuts down on pollution, and using natural fibers helps fight the microplastic crisis. Fighting microplastics is a corporate social responsibility for OkStraw, so we’re glad Patagonia cares about it too.

 

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we know also understand the cost of organic sourcing, because we practice it. While organic sourcing isn’t cheap, the dividend of a healthier planet outweighs any profit made from shortcutting. At OkStraw Paper Straws, quality over quantity takes priority. When we make a paper straw, we ensure it’s tough enough to do the job without a hitch. Using one good paper straw instead of three low quality ones saves both paper and energy. 

 

Paper Straws for a Sustainable Dividend

Admittedly, Patagonia makes repairable and reusable gear, while OkStraw makes disposable, single-use paper straws. However, we both believe that our social responsibility doesn’t stop when our products reach customers’ hands. When companies take shortcuts to make extra profit, it costs everyone in the long run. Instead of taking shortcuts, OkStraw Paper Straws works to make sure all aspects of our supply chain are ecofriendly

We at OkStraw Paper Straws spent extra capital to practice sustainable forestry, instead of clear cutting. Using organic oils, adhesives and food coloring was more expensive, but it was the right thing to do. Yes, OkStraw paper straws cost more than plastic straws, but our planet pays far less. We at OkStraw Paper Straws challenge all companies to take a minute, and ask what their corporate social responsibility is. We know ours, and it’s the Cause for Paper Straws!

Irish Teen Removes Microplastics in Water

Removing microplastics in water is a colossal challenge

Microplastics pose huge threat to our planet, and they’re everywhere. Along with being in the air and soil, microplastics in the ocean harm marine animals and humans. Removing microplastics in water is a colossal challenge, but thankfully, a new solution is here.

This new solution comes from teenager and winner of Google’s Science Fair contest, Fiann Ferreira. Both practical and highly effective, Ferreira’s microplastic harvesting method is exactly what our planet needs. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we can’t wait to see Ferreira’s method take to the waters, and fight this microplastic menace.

Microplastics: Why They're Terrible

We at OkStraw Paper Straws talk about macroplastics like plastic straws, and they’re certainly a big problem. However,  microplastics are a lurking threat, and they’re literally everywhere. In fact, scientists regularly find microplastics in the most unexpected places, like the Arctic Circle. While they’re less than 5mm in size, microplastics are a Goliath that we must confront.

 

Microplastics can come from microbeads in body washes, fibers from clothes, and even foodware like plastic straws. Unlike sustainable paper straws, plastic straws never biodegrade, and break down into microplastics. People ingest microplastics from either eating fish that swallowed them, or by drinking contaminated water. If we don’t want microplastics in our bodies, then we need to get them out of the water.

 

Ferreira's Magnetic Success

Scientists and engineers introduced a number solutions to remove microplastics from water. The Ocean Cleanup Device shows promise, but is there another way to harvest microplastics? As of July, that answer is a resounding yes, and it comes from 18-year-old Fionn Ferreira. 

A teenager from Ireland, Ferreira created a “ferrofluid” by mixing biodegradable vegetable oil and magnetite powder. This ferrofluid attached itself to microplastics in the water, making them magnetic. Ferreria then used a powerful magnet to draw out these magnetized microplastics. The results were astounding, with an 87% success rate! Ferreira certainly impressed the judges at Google’s Science Fair, who awarded him first place price, and a cool $50,000.

How You Can Stop Microplastics

Ferreira’s method is real winner, because it’s both effective and practical. Afterall, what good is a solution if we can’t put it to use? We at OkStraw Paper Straws believe that thanks to Fionn Ferreira, the battle against microplastics is halfway over. Why do we at OkStraw Paper Straws say “halfway over”, though? Well, if we want to end microplastic waste, then we need to stop making more of it. 

If we cut out single-use plastics, then there will be far few microplastics in the ocean. Biodegradable alternatives are a great solution, but they weren’t always that good. All of that changed, however, thanks to innovative companies like OkStraw Paper Straws. Today, you can get paper straws that outperform their plastic counterparts.

Paper Straws for a Plastic-Free Ocean

Biodegradable paper straws do far more than just save sea turtles and fish. Unlike plastic straws, biodegradable paper reintegrate into the ecosystem. This solves the problem of microplastics in water. Swicthing from plastic to paper straws helps fight climate change. By now, it should be clear how you can help Mr. Ferreira fight waterborne microplastics. 

Cut out as many single-use plastics as you can, and switch to biodegradable paper and reusable alternatives. If we want to support brilliant people like Fionn Ferreira, then we shouldn’t create more messes to clean up. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we salute Mr. Ferreira for his innovative solution to finally solve our microplastic crisis.

Microplastics in Soil Hurt Earthworms

Microplastics seem to be all the rage today. We hear about them polluting the oceans, and even floating in the air. If that wasn’t scary enough, microplastics are now in the soil, and they’re hurting earthworms.

According to a recent scientific study, microplastics are causing worms to lose weight. This finding worries us at OkStraw Paper Straws, because it’s devastating news. If we want to ensure a stable food supply, then we have to tackle our microplastic problem.

 

Earthworms are in Trouble

In a recent study by Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, scientists observed microplastics causing rosy-tipped earthworms to lose weight. While scientists are sure why microplastics in soil cause earthworms to lose weight, the details are worrying.

The plastic responsible was HDPE, commonly used in plastic straws, bags and soda bottles. Scientists determined that HDPE in soil caused earthworms to lose 3% of their body weight over a month. Without HDPE in the soil, earthworms gained 5% body weight over the same timespan. This scares us at OkStraw Paper Straws, because microplastics hurting earthworms carries serious repercussions for human beings. 

Microplastics Threaten Human Beings

So far, scientists still don’t know whether microplastics directly hurt people who swallow them. With this news, however, we at OkStraw Paper Straws believe they won’t need to. That’s because microplastics in the soil directly threatens human populations.

Earthworms provide important nutrients for yielding healthy crops, which farmers need. If microplastics kill off earthworms, then farmers won’t be able to grow enough food to feed people. This means microplastics have the potential to cause crop failures, and food shortages. 

No Where is Safe From Microplastics

“But how do microplastics get into the soil?”, you may ask. Microplastics are incredibly invasive; storm clouds and wind storms can carry them across long distances. When microplastics enter rainstorms, they get carried down to the ground, and leech into the soil. Worms then eat these microplastics, lose weight and die, causing food shortages.

As with other forms of pollution, microplastics in the soil will disproportionately affect developing countries. Because developing countries have less safeguards against food shortages, microplastics will kill vulnerable people through starvation. We at OkStraw Paper Straws believe that unless we cut out plastics, the consequences will be deadly.

How You Can Fight Microplastics

Because HDPE microplastics hurt earthworms, let’s first cut out products that use this material. Instead of using HDPE-based plastic bags and plastic straws, switch to reusable bags and paper straws. These flimsy plastics are difficult to recycle properly, so the best safeguard is to not use them.

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we encourage everyone to join us in cutting out plastics. Not just for the turtles and fish, but for those earthworms, and even human beings. OkStraw organic paper straws are safely biodegradable in both the ocean and the soil. Our paper straws hurt neither turtle nor earthworm, and they don’t threaten food security. So do it for the worms, do it for the people, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

Prague Bans Plastic Straws and Foodware

Prague Bans Plastic Straws and Foodware

The war on plastic waste keeps on marching, and this time, it’s coming to Central Europe. After dealing with litter, the Czech capital city of Prague finally decided to take action. Starting on May 1st, 2019, Prague no longer allows single-use plastics at music festivals hosted in the city.

Prague’s single-use plastics ban includes plastic straws, cups, food containers and cutlery. Consequently, music festival goers can no longer purchase food and drinks contained in or packaged with single-use plastic. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we eagerly look forward to Prague leading by Central Europe’s fight against plastic in the arts.

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Show's Over for Single-Use Plastics

Famous worldwide, Prague is the Czech Republic’s political and cultural capital. Among Europe’s funnest cities, Prague has no shortage of music festivals. While they’re fun for attendees, these festivals generate plastic waste, and Prague’s had enough. Therefore, Prague’s municipal government decided to ban single-use plastics at these events. 

While the government named rap and pop music, Prague’s single-use plastics ban covers all music festivals. Moreover, Prague took the extra step, and banned single-use plastics at all art events. This includes painting, dancing and acting events. OkStraw Paper Straws commends Prague for comprehensively eradicating single-use plastics. Art often represents our values, and Prague’s resolution sings gracefully.

Ecofriendly Alternatives to Plastics

Prague now wants music festival goers to use porcelain, glass and metal foodware instead of single-use plastics. While this seems sensible, some critics voiced their concerns. Critics worry that intoxicated festival goers may injure themselves with these utensils.Additionally, drunk and disorderly festival goers could hurt others by throwing glasses and porcelain plates. 

This places Prague’s festivals at a dilemma. Prague wants to fight single-use plastic waste, which we at OkStraw commend. However, we don’t want to see metal, glass foodware become a safety hazard. Is there a good compromise, then? Absolutely, because biodegradable foodware like paper straws and bamboo cutlery are safe, ban compliant plastic-free alternatives. 

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Paper Straws for Prague

OkStraw Paper Straws is one of these outstanding biodegradable foodware companies. Our paper straws are safe for festival goers who take liberties with Prague’s many outstanding brews. With OkStraw’s Straws custom print offerings, Prague’s music festivals can have their very own paper straws, and protect the River Vltava.

Prague now joins other cities that banned single-use plastics at venues, including Orlando, and events like Glastonbury. With the EU phasing out plastics by 2021, Prague is staying proactive and well prepared for a plastic-free Czech future. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we raise our drinks to the amazing city of Prague, and give a resounding “na zdravy!”

Trump Curbs Climate Change Impact Research

The Trump administration just ordered a government agency to stop predicting the long term impacts of climate change. The order came from the US Geological Survey (USGS) director James Reilly. Reilly, a Trump-appointed former oil geologist, ordered scientific assessments to only make climate change predictions up until the year 2040. 

The Trump administration limiting the predictions of climate change to 2040 is a serious blow to saving our planet. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we believe this new prediction model, just like the Trump administration’s view on plastics, is dangerous and shortsighted. Fighting climate change is an uphill battle, and to win this battle, we must know its long term impacts.

Trump vs. Climate Change Scientists

Before this change, the USGS used 2100 as the year to study climate change impacts. By using 2100 in their computer models, scientists were better able to predict how climate change will progress. With the scope of their research shortened to 20 years, climate scientists can’t make accurate enough predictions, and can’t recommend the best strategies.

 

While we at OkStraw Paper Straws focus on cutting out plastic waste, we know climate change is humanity’s biggest existential threat. As earth’s temperature rises, more cities will become flooded, countries will be too hot to inhabit, and droughts will starve people. Because of these effects, climate change is a major economic, geographic and humanitarian threat to our planet. 

The Shortsighted Trump Administration

Climate change is also a major national security threat, according to the Pentagon, because it makes natural disasters worse. With the recent devastation brought on by Hurricane Dorian, the Trump administration should take this threat national security threat seriously. Unfortunately, the Trump administration is doing just the opposite. 

In fact, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo praised climate change for melting ice, and opening new trade route paths. Pompeo saying something says the Trump administration acknowledges that climate change is happening, and they’d rather chase a dollar now than plan for the future. 

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we acknowledge how absurd the Trump administration’s view on climate change is. Afterall, what good will a bigger economy and more trade routes do if climate change makes our planet unliveable? Unless President Trump has another planet ready for us to move to, we’d strongly suggest he wake and start taking climate change seriously.

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Plastic Waste and Climate Change

So what does a company that sells paper straws have to do with limiting the impact of climate change? Far more than you would think, as a matter of fact. When we think of plastic waste, microplastics and so on, we mainly see it as a threat to marine animals and environmental safety. While all of this is true, plastic also causes climate change.

Producing plastics requires drilling for fossil fuels, which emits huge amounts of carbon. In fact, according to the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), the plastics industry produces up to 14 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. If we want to slow down climate change, then cutting out plastics will go a long way.

Paper Straws to Fight Climate Change

That’s where OkStraw Paper Straws comes in. Our mission is to break our addiction to single-use plastics, both healing our environment, and lowering our carbon footprint. Unlike some irresponsible and shortsighted companies, OkStraw neither demolishes virgin or tropical forests, nor practices clearcutting. Instead, we source our organic paper from ethical forestry practices, in compliance with the Sustainable Forestry Council (SFC).

 

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we can only hope the Trump administration wakes up to the serious impact of climate change. After all, saving our planet doesn’t end when the next president takes office. President Trump has the opportunity to leave a sustainable legacy, but he’s squandering it by curtailing climate scientists’ research. OkStraw might be a little paper straw company, but even we can do our part to fight climate change.