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
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!

New Challenges to San Francisco Restaurants Serving Boba Drinks

Shops and restaurants selling boba tea in San Francisco will soon face a new challenge to their businesses from a ban on plastic straws, passed in 2018 by the Board of Supervisors. Starting on July of 2019, shops violating this new ordinance will face fines ranging from 100 to 500 dollars with each offense. In order to stay in compliance, finding an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic straws will be crucial for shops selling boba tea. Boba tea is a Taiwanese drink seeing an increasing popularity in US cities, and consists of a sweet tea filled with large glutinous tapioca marbles. Boba tea straws must be wide enough to allow the tapioca balls to pass through them, while also being sturdy with a sharpened tip capable of punching through a film secured over the top of the drink, which prevents spilling. The challenge for San Francisco-based shops selling boba tea is finding a biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic straws that meets all of these requirements.

San Francisco will only permit non-plastic alternatives such as bamboo, metal, or paper straws. Plant-based PLA plastic straws will be prohibited in San Francisco, as although they can be readily recycled, they are too small to be caught and sorted by the city’s PLA composting facilities. PLA plastic is also not safe for the waters surrounding San Francisco, as the cold temperatures prevent the material from biodegrading, making PLA straws just as harmful to marine animals as normal plastic straws. Reusable metal and bamboo straws are an alternative, however they are far more expensive to buy than single-use straws, and many tourists visiting San Francisco may balk at the prospect of spending as much as two dollars or more in order to enjoy their drinks. With metal and bamboo straws an expensive and likely unappealing prospect, and single-use PLA straws not being an option for boba drinks, San Francisco business will likely navigate to paper straws as single-use biodegradable alternatives. 

There are a handful of paper straw companies that offer boba straws wide enough to be used, however many of these straws do not come with sharp angled tips capable of piercing the container tops, meaning shops selling boba tea will need to spend the time and laborious effort of cutting the tips of each straw themselves. Cost will also be a concern, with most paper boba straws on the market today costing up to 19 cents a piece, adding a greater business expense to San Francisco businesses purchasing large quantities to keep up with customer demand in a competitive business market with high rent costs. As many of these local stores are family owned with far less wealth than larger franchise businesses, they may have no other option than to place the price of these biodegradable straws on their patrons. For eco-friendly straw producers, the challenge will be to offer small businesses in San Francisco with a paper straw that not only has all the capabilities they expect from a boba straw, but can also be manufactured and sold at an affordable price.