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!

Thanksgiving Donation from OkStraw Paper Straws to the San Diego Food Bank

What do all things about 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!

We often talk about changes we can make to live more sustainably, such as shopping with reusable bags, and replacing plastic with paper straws. What we often don’t talk about enough, however, is food waste. Uneaten food that goes to waste puts a huge burden on our planet, and makes food insecurity worse. Organizations like the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and its North County Food Bank chapter, however, are leading the charge against food waste by providing hunger relief to the most vulnerable people in this county. 

 

Distributing 28 million pounds of food in 2018 alone, and serving an average of 350,000 people in need each month, the Food Bank is the largest organization of its type in San Diego County. With 1 in 7 adults and 1 in 5 children in San Diego County facing food insecurity, the San Diego Food Bank is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people. It is also a role model for sustainability, and the fight against food waste.  

San Diego Food Bank is making a major local contribution toward the global fight against food waste.

Food waste is a significant threat to the health of our planet. Globally, an estimated $750 billion worth of food is wasted, and according to a study by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, food waste is responsible for 3.3 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. If the emissions resulting from food waste were a country, it would be the third largest contributor to climate change behind China and the United States. 

Food waste is also causing serious harm to world nutrition. In 2015, more than 150 countries assembled at the United Nations to agree on the Sustainable Development Goals, with 2030 as the year to reach these goals. In order to meet the goal of meeting food security, the world must cut down its food waste by 50 percent. By distributing food donated by local restaurants and businesses, the San Diego Food Bank is making a major local contribution toward the global fight against food waste. 

The only food distribution center in the world with an LEED v4 accolade

San Diego Food Bank is also a role model for sustainability in the County. Thanks to 1,400 solar panels, the Food Bank’s 90 thousand foot warehouse is completely energy independent, significantly reducing its carbon footprint. With this energy saved, the San Diego Food Bank has been able to provide families in need with an addition 600,000 meals each year.

The San Diego Food Bank also boasts an impressive composting machine that can separate food waste from plastic, paper and aluminum food packaging, which is sent to recycling. The Food Bank then sends this compost to nonprofit organizations that run community gardens. All of these green initiatives led to San Diego Food Bank’s facility being first and only building in the County to attain LEED v4 Gold Status certification, and the only food bank in the world with an LEED v4 accolade.  

OkStraw Paper Straws is proud to be the latest local business to contribute to the San Diego Food Bank’s mission

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

The San Diego Food Bank relies on donations from local individuals and businesses to provide residents with the necessary help. OkStraw is proud to continue contributing to the San Diego Food Bank’s mission, donating 100,000 biodegradable paper straws. This amounts to over 1500 dollars worth of paper straws, which will go to local community centers, churches and food drives. We at OkStraw Paper Straws are honored to contribute to San Diego Food Bank’s mission to end hunger in the County, and lead the fight for sustainability. 

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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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.

okstraw paper straws certifications and sustainability fda food and drug administration sgs fsc forest stewardship council bfr

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!

Boba Guys Choose Bamboo Fiber Straws

San Francisco-based bubble tea company Boba Guys announced that they will use bamboo fiber straws at all their locations. With this announcement, Boba Guys are poised to lead the way in bubble tea sustainability. Although finding the right straw was no easy endeavor, Boba Guys’ efforts paid off.

We at OkStraw Paper Straws want to commend Boba Guys for choosing a sustainable alternative. After all, while our straws might be different, both OkStraw and Boba Guys lead the cause against plastic waste. We’re excited to see Boba Guys’ future of biodegradable straws.

The co-founders of Boba Guys
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San Francisco Mayor London Breed (center) visits Boba Guys

For a Plastic-Free Future

Boba Guys’ quest that led to choosing bamboo fiber straws was the result of the founders’ principles, and local legislation. Boba Guys is based in San Francisco, placing them at the center of the new plastic straw ban. Additionally, with Bay Area cities banning plastic straws, ditching plastic across all their chains made perfect sense. 

Principle also drove Boba Guys’ switch to bamboo fiber straws. Boba Guys’ founders wanted to lead by example, and encourage people to switch away from plastic. With more individuals ditching plastic, the results will add up, and our planet can start healing. At OkStraw, we love reading about Boba Guys’ passion for inspiring others, and knowing we share the same convictions.

Why Choose Bamboo Fiber Straws?

With all the plastic straw alternatives out there, why did Boba Guys decide on bamboo fiber straws? According to one of the cofounders, Andrew, biodegradability was a key deciding factor. While many alternative straws are compostable, they aren’t always biodegradable.

While PLA straws are compostable, they don’t break down easily in the ocean, potentially harming marine animals. This is why San Francisco banned PLA straws, along with conventional plastic straws. Whereas bamboo fiber straws biodegrade easily, just like OkStraw’s paper straws. 

Along with being biodegradable, bamboo fiber straws are great performers. Boba Guys chose these straws because of their neutral flavor and toughness. In fact, high quality paper straws like OkStraw’s are the only true single-use competitors to bamboo fibers. OkStraw’s biodegradable paper straws are ocean safe, our 4-ply choices last 5 hours in drinks, and don’t flavor drinks.  

Bamboo Fiber vs Paper

Yes, bamboo fiber straws have one advantage over paper straws: hot temperature durability. Premium paper straws can hold up in warmer drinks, but bamboos are good for up to 212 degrees. On the contrary, paper straws are easier to dye and print on than bamboo, and they’re also cheaper. So while bamboo fiber straws are one color and lumpy, paper straws are any color you want, and are perfectly round.

 

We at OkStraw Paper Straws give our congratulations to Boba Guys for ditching plastic straws for good. While paper straws may suit a wider audience, bamboo fiber straws are an excellent biodegradable choice. Boba Guys are making a major investment, but the future dividends for our planet will be huge. So to all the businesses out there, ditch the plastic, start a trend, and join the Cause for Eco-Friendly Straws!

How Paper Straws Help Fight Climate Change

You’ve seen it all over the news, the world’s on strike to fight climate change! People from all walks of life on every inhabited continent are demanding true action to save our planet. We need renewable energy, no plastic waste, and polluting corporations held accountable. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we know the damage plastic companies cause, and we’re here to disrupt the industry.

 

“But what do paper straws have to do with climate change?” you may ask. Most of us know how harmful plastic waste is to our planet. Breaking down into microscopic pieces, plastic contaminates water, and soil. Marine animals often mistakenly eat plastic, risking serious injuries or death. Plastic waste is literally everywhere on our planet, and it’s a clear and present danger to everyone.

 

climate-change-plastic-straws

Plastic Waste and Climate Change

Byproducts of plastics are just a threat to our oceans and our bodies, however, they’re also fueling climate change. According to the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), the plastics industry is the second largest and fastest growing contributor to greenhouse emissions. In order to make plastic, companies have to extract fossil fuels, and burn them, emitting large amounts of carbon.

 

Unless we quit using plastic, CIEL estimates that by 2050, plastic production will account for 13% of Earth’s “carbon budget”. In order words, the carbon budget is how much carbon humans can produce before we cause uncontrollable climate change. Incidentally, 2050 is also the year scientists predict that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. 

 

Paper Straws for Sustainability

It should be clear by now that cutting out plastic straws isn’t just some “feel-good” token gesture, it’s part of fighting climate change. However, you might ask: “but you use paper, and doesn’t that mean less trees to absorb carbon?”. That depends on how a company sources its paper. Some companies slash and burn irreplaceable forests, like what’s happening to the Amazon, which damages our climate. 

At OkStraw Paper Straws, this is something we never practice nor condone. We source all wood for our paper straws from a sustainably-managed forest. That means when we fell a tree, we replace it with 4 trees; we don’t deforest for profit. As a result, OkStraw Paper Straws is compliant with both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). 

okstraw paper straws certifications and sustainability fda food and drug administration sgs fsc forest stewardship council bfr

Time's Up for Plastic Straws

As with our kraft paper, OkStaw takes no shortcuts with our materials. We only use organic food dyes and glue in our biodegradable and compostable paper straws. Once an OkStraw Paper Straw reaches the end of its life, it returns to nature. This is something plastic straws will never do…well at least not for the next 1000 years. So what do paper straws have to do with climate change? The answer should be clear by now: everything.

 

At OkStraw, we know even thing as small as a paper straws are still part of a bigger picture. That bigger picture is sustainable environmental stewardship, respect for the planet, and moving away from fossil fuel-based resources. In this globalized age, every item, no matter how small, makes an impact far bigger than you’d ever think. OkStraw’s paper straws are here to end plastic straws’ reign of terror for good, and help repair our climate. 

 

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DFW Airport to Phase Out Plastic Straws

Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport just announced that it will no longer offer plastic straws at its facilities. As a result, DFW will cut out 4 million plastic straws, or two tons, per year. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we are excited to hear this move to eradicate harmful plastic straws, and turn to eco-friendly solutions. 

This is big news for introducing more people to eco-friendly solutions like paper straws. DFW is America’s fourth busiest airport, seeing 63 million passengers pass through its gates every year. With more cities, facilities and companies passing bans, the wave against plastic straws is more unstoppable than ever. 

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Restaurants at DFW must switch to plastic straw alternatives.

DFW the Newest Sustainable Airport

Under DFW’s new policy, and vendors and restaurants must go strawless, or offer alternatives like paper straws. The airport won’t fine violators, however, nor will they set a deadline. Nevertheless, DFW will install 6,000 signs throughout the airport to warn passengers about this change. This won’t be a problem, though, because we at OkStraw believe that as more people use eco-friendly paper straws, they won’t miss plastic.

DFW’s spokesperson Cynthia Vega said that most of the airport’s food and beverage vendors are happy to ditch plastic straws. Furthermore, Vega remarked that DFW will encourage vendors to offer naturally compostable alternatives like paper straws on request. With 63 million passengers passing through its terminals, DFW will be a global ambassador for switching paper straws. As Californians, we at OkStraw can’t believe the Lone Star State beat us in ditching plastic straws at airports!

Working Toward Ending Plastic Straws

This change didn’t happen suddenly, as DFW notified vendors beforehand, and helped them find eco-friendly paper straw providers. While DFW will phase out plastic straws, passengers with disabilities will still be able to get them. Furthermore, the plastic straw ban will not extend to airlines operating at DFW, though American Airlines phased out plastic straws.

DFW isn’t the first airport to ditch plastic straws. Earlier this year, Dubai Airports in the UAE announced that they will discontinue plastic straws. Dubai’s airports are the busiest in the world, with 88 million people passing through them in 2018 alone. Although DFW is far less busy than Dubai, this is still a huge step toward ending plastic straws.

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American Airlines has ditched plastic straws

Paper Straws for the Future DFW

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we believe DFW’s switch away from plastic straws will have a global impact. Because people from around the world pass through them every day, airports carry ideas and experiences across thousands of miles. Every person who uses a paper straw at DFW will have a new experience to bring home. As more people hear about these experiences, they will want to learn how switching to biodegradable straws helps the planet. 

 

OkStraw is a San Diego-based manufacturer and vendor, offering premium biodegradable paper straws at unbeatable prices. Thanks to our advanced R&D, we have paper straws to suit any drink, including slushies, tiki drinks, boba tea, with custom print options. On top of that, all OkStraw paper straws are certified organic, compostable, and are hypoallegenic we never take shortcuts. So next time you fly into DFW, remember to ditch the plastic, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

Not all Paper Foodware is Created Equal

With more public opposition and more crackdowns on single-use plastics, eco-friendly disposable sales are booming. It seems like every day, a new company claims its products will heal this plastic-contaminated world. 

Not all of these so-called eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics are better for the planet, however. Some companies take shortcuts with their products, and under closer scrutiny, these eco-friendly claims start crumbling. Unlike OkStraw Paper Straws, which stands behind its eco-friendly products, these companies fall well short.

The PFAS Menace

Some of companies selling fiber bowls for soups and salads market them as eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic bowls. Many of these paper bowls, however, contain polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS chemicals are human made, and will never break down in the natural environment. Once PFAS chemicals enter the environment, they’re there forever.

What’s worse, if PFAS-laced materials mix with compostable materials, they will stop everything from breaking down. These facts truly shock and appall us at OkStraw Paper Straws. If there are PFAS chemicals in fiber bowls, then what other paper foodware products contain them? How many inferior paper plates, paper straws and takeout containers out there contain PFAS? At OkStraw, we believe shortcuts like this both endanger the environment, and hurt the cause against plastic. 

Finding a company that stands behind its eco-friendly claims is more important than ever.​

Reusable Single-Use Plastic?

News like this makes people think eco-friendly products are no better for the planet than single-use plastics. They might say that plastic straws can be recycled, so they are actually better than paper straws. Let’s hold on for a minute, because this argument misses the point. 

 

Yes, single-use plastics are TECHNICALLY reusable, but they almost never are. Plastic straws are too thin and flimsy to hold up long term, and most facilities can’t recycle them. Not only this, but plastics never truly decompose. They break apart into tiny pieces, or microplastics. These microplastics are now in the water we drink, the food we eat, and even the air we breathe. We need truly biodegradable, eco-friendly products that kick our addiction to plastic once and for all.

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okstraw paper straws certifications and sustainability fda food and drug administration sgs fsc forest stewardship council bfr

OkStraw Never Compromises

Finding a company that stands behind its eco-friendly claims is more important than ever, but where? Where do you find a company that truly stands behind its biodegradable claims? OkStraw knows making real eco-friendly product leaves no room for shortcuts. That’s why at OkStraw Paper Straws, we go the distance, and never compromise our mission of sustainability.

OkStraw’s paper straws are PFAS free, and are made from organic paper, food dye, and glue. Unlike inferior BFAS-containing products, our paper straws won’t interfere with other properly biodegradable foodware. Should an OkStraw paper straw end up in the ocean or on the ground, it won’t stick around for long. 

Paper Straws that Protect the Planet

OkStraw’s paper straws also carry the organic composting company Cedar Grove’s seal of approval. Cedar Grover is a member of the nationwide Composting Manufacturing Alliance (CMA). CMA’s partners rigorously field test biodegradable foodware, ensuring these products truly compost in the natural world. OkStraw doesn’t just talk a good game about making biodegradable paper straws. We have the credentials to prove it. 

We make our paper straws from materials that exist in this ecosystem, not from fossil fuels or synthetic chemicals. OkStraw’s paper straws are born from our living planet, and when they reach the end of their service life, they return to it. With OkStraw Paper Straws, there are neither shortcuts nor compromises. Just strong American quality.

McDonald’s “Unrecyclable” Paper Straws

McDonald’s recently admitted that the paper straws it rolled out last year in its UK and Ireland restaurants are not recyclable. This news marks the latest PR snag for the multinational restaurant corporation’s switch from plastic straws. 

McDonald’s replaced plastic straws with biodegradable paper straws at these restaurants in 2018, after other corporations stopped using plastic straws. The switch to paper was also necessary, as the UK government banned single-use plastic straws and drink stirrers. At OkStraw, we understand this issue, but we are not dissuaded from standing behind eco-friendly straws.

McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland is advising people to treat their new straws as waste items.

Using high quality paper straws is a must.

Paper Straw Struggles

McDonald’s paper straw switch had growing pains with its customers. People initially complained that these biodegradable straws were collapsing in milkshakes, and were dissolving too quickly. Photos of McDonald’s-branded drinks with bent, soggy and collapsed straws began spreading across social media platforms.

McDonald’s responded to these complaints by making their biodegradable paper straws thicker, but this caused new problems. These new straws were too thick to be recycled by waste processing machines. McDonald’s announced that it is working with its waste management providers to resolve this issue. Until then, however, McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland is advising people to throw their new straws in the trash.

Single-use plastic straws are almost never recycled

Real Cost of Biodegradable Straws

Critics pointed out that McDonald’s replaced recyclable plastic straws with non-recyclable paper straws. While this may be true in theory, in reality, single-use plastic straws are almost never recycled. Most recycling facilities cannot process plastic straws, because they are too flimsy. Plastic straws end up as trash, and often wreak havoc on our environment.

While some biodegradable straws are not easily recyclable, what they do to the environment is a world of difference from plastic straws. Organic paper that end up in waters safely biodegrades, and does not endanger animals. Plastic straws on the other hand will continue to endanger the wellbeing of marine animals and eventually humans. At OkStraw, we know the real cost of paper straws is far less than plastic straws.

Plastic straws can cause irreparable harm to the environment

McDonald's Sticks to Paper Straws

While some people want McDonald’s to bring back plastic straws, the company is holding steady to its paper commitment. With the UK’s plastic straw ban and growing public support for the ban, McDonald’s is on the right path. 

 

We at OKStraw would like to commend McDonald’s for committing to end plastic waste. Yes, they may face some disapproval, and there will be growing pains. Ultimately, however, the most important things in our lives are the ones worth fighting for. We only have one planet, and keeping it healthy might be the most important of all.

OkStraw Paper Straws: Why Choose Us?

The paper straw market is on fire, with many new companies grabbing for a piece of the pie. With so many competing options in this booming, you might be overwhelmed. Are all paper straws the same? What should I look for in a quality paper straw? Do materials matter? And how do I know I am getting a good deal? 

At OkStraw, we take the guessing work out, and streamline this buying process. OkStraw offers a wide selection of quality products, and a quick and responsive team to walk you through the buying process. At OkStraw, we strive to provide service as strong as our paper straws.

We at OkStraw Paper Straws take no shortcuts with our straws. Some competitors manufacture their paper straws with low-grade cardboard, but we make our paper straws multiple layers of high-weight paper. This manufacturing gives our paper straws a more durable design that will not snap in half or pinch shut. We know that first impressions can change people’s opinions about paper straws forever.

 

OkStraw’s paper straws are available in both 3-ply and 4-ply thickness. Our 3-ply option is ideal for customers seeking a balance of strength and economy. 3-ply is the industry standard, but thanks to our manufacturing, OkStraw’s 3-plies have superior strength. 4-ply paper straws from OkStraw are our premium option, offering unparalleled performance. In fact, OkStraw’s 4-ply paper straws are rated to last over 5 hours while submerged in drinks. When you buy an paper straw from OkStraw, you buy a product that punches way above its pricepoint.

 

OkStraw’s 4-ply paper straws are rated to last over 5 hours while submerged in drinks.

We at OkStraw make our paper straws from biodegradable, organic kraft paper, oils and glues. We don’t use wax or chemicals that could prevent our straws from composting properly. We will never compromise our sustainability pledge in the name of cost cutting. 

Making fully biodegradable but tough paper straws was no easy task, but we believe it was the only way. We source our paper from a sustainably managed forest, and we comply with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and Sustainable Forest Iniative (SFI). OkStraw also complies with FDA, EU and German BfF food safety regulations.

OkStraw designs and manufactures its own products.

Lastly, OkStraw designs and manufactures its own paper straws. This means that OkStraw clients have the choice of specifying custom designs, colors, graphics for their paper straws. Additionally, OkStraw clients have shorter lead times than they would with competitors. We can accomplish all of this because we do not outsource our production to third party manufacturers.

With more plastic straw bans coming, finding a sustainable, quality and affordable alternative can be overwhelming. Rest easy, however, OkStraw is here for your service, with custom options, durable straws, and sustainable manufacturing. OkStraw Paper Straws is here to deliver the finishing blow to plastic straws once and for all. 

Dubai Airports to Ban Single-Use Plastics by 2020

On June 10th, Dubai Airports Company announced its plan to ban single-use plastics from its facilities by January 1st, 2020. The United Arab Emirates-based firm is responsible for managing both Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport. Under the ban, single use plastic straws, forks, cutlery, and plastic shopping bags will no longer be allowed in shops, food courts, and restaurants. This ban follows the company’s recent push toward sustainability. Dubai Airports has already recycled over 43 thousand tons of paper and glass every year, and disposed of 16 tons of plastic water bottles. On World Environmental Day at the beginning of June, the company worked with more than 100 businesses at Dubai International Airport to stop handing out 150 thousand single-use plastic straws.

As massive as the buildings and construction projects are in the UAE, the amount of single-use plastic on Earth to  contends with is far greater. It has been estimated that more than 8.3 billion tons of plastic waste has been produced worldwide since 1950. In other words, it would take 16,600 Burj Khalifas, the world’s tallest skyscraper located in Dubai, to fill the same space occupied by plastic. Chair of the Emirates Group Hababi Al Mar’ashi stated that banning single use plastics at Dubai International Airport will encourage international visitors in Dubai to take the initiative in fighting against single-use plastic pollution. With an estimated 90 million people passing through Dubai International each year, the airport has ranked as the world’s busiest for a 5th year in a row.  

Dubai Airports is not the first institution in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to ban plastics. The UAE government’s Ministry of Environment and Water enacted bans on a number of non-biodegradable plastic products in 2013. Included in this list are single-use plastic bags, cups, cutlery and plates. Further bans on single-use plastics could have a major impact on the UAE’s waste footprint. The emirate Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency reported that the average UAE resident uses nearly 1,200 single-use plastics per year, or almost triple the global average. In addition, UAE residents use on average 3 billion plastic water bottles a year. A major shift away from single-use plastics to biodegradable materials has the potential of demonstrating to the world that no matter how heavily people rely on plastics, they can still make the switch to more sustainable alternatives.

Public opinion in the UAE is also shifting against single-use plastics. A 2019 poll of 2,700 people in the country’s seven emirates showed a majority supported paying a fee for single-use plastics. UAE citizens and the numerous expatriate workers living in the Emirates are already making their own personal changes, such as shopping with reusable bags, and bringing their own water bottles and beverage cups. Enterprises operating in the UAE are also doing their part to curb single-use plastics, with more than 50 businesses pledging in 2018 to stop using plastic straws. When January 1st, 2020 arrives, Dubai Airports will become the largest business in the UAE to ban single-use plastics at its establishments. In a country known the world over for its impressive list of human-made monoliths and achievements, ending plastic waste may yet be its most important. 

Carnival agrees to pay $20 million for pollution violations in settlement

Carnival Corp. reached a settlement Monday with federal prosecutors in which the world’s largest cruise line agreed to pay a $20 million penalty because its ships continued to pollute the oceans despite a previous criminal conviction aimed at curbing similar conduct. Senior U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz approved the agreement after Carnival CEO Arnold Donald stood up in open court and admitted the company’s responsibility for probation violations stemming from the previous environmental case.

“The company pleads guilty,” Arnold said six times in a packed courtroom that include other senior Carnival executives, including company chairman and Miami Heat owner Micky Arison. “We acknowledge the shortcomings. I am here today to formulate a plan to fix them,” Arnold added.

“The proof will be in the pudding, won’t it?” the judge replied. “If you all did not have the environment, you would have nothing to sell.”

Carnival admitted to violating terms of probation from a 2016 criminal conviction for discharging oily waste from its Princess Cruise Lines ships and covering it up. Carnival paid a $40 million fine and was put on five years’ probation in that case, which affected all nine of its cruise brands that boast more than 100 ships.

Now Carnival has acknowledged that in the years since its ships have committed environmental crimes such as dumping "gray water" in prohibited places such Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park and knowingly allowing plastic to be discharged along with food waste in the Bahamas, which poses a severe threat to marine life.

Now Carnival has acknowledged that in the years since its ships have committed environmental crimes such as dumping “gray water” in prohibited places such Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and knowingly allowing plastic to be discharged along with food waste in the Bahamas, which poses a severe threat to marine life. The company also admitted to falsifying compliance documents and other administrative violations such as having cleanup teams visit its ships just before scheduled inspections.

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Seitz at an earlier hearing threatened to bar Carnival from docking at U.S. ports because of the violations and said she might hold executives individually liable for the probation violations. “The concern I have is that senior management has no skin in the game,” Seitz said, adding that future violations might be met with prison time and criminal fines for individuals. “My goal is to have the defendant change its behavior.”

Under the settlement, Carnival promised there will be additional audits to check for violations, a restructuring of the company’s compliance and training programs, a better system for reporting environmental violations to state and federal agencies and improved waste management practices. The agreement also would set Sept. 13 and Oct. 9 deadlines to create an improved compliance plan and make other changes, subject to fines of $1 million per day if those deadlines are not met.

If a second round of deadlines are not met, the fines could go up to $10 million a day. Other proposed changes include a reduction by Carnival in the use of single-use plastic items across its entire fleet and the creation of “tiger teams” meant to make improvements in the ships’ food and beverage systems and how waste is handled at sea.

Seitz is retiring later this year and is turning over the case to U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro, who jointly presided over Monday’s hearing. Three people who claimed they were victims of Carnival’s environmental violations attended the hearing.

Their attorney, Knoll Lowney, expressed skepticism that Carnival will keep its word this time. “Time and time again, Carnival has shown its contempt of environmental laws and the rule of law,” he said. “Here we are again.”

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