“Every straw makes a difference,” is the motto of Sand Straw, a millennial start-up, which is joining the crusade against ocean-polluting plastics.
The company is the brainchild of La Jollans John Weil and Brian Ruthenberg. The two roommates, who met when they attended San Diego State University, are avid beachgoers who enjoy swimming, surfing, boogie boarding and snorkeling.
“We saw an opportunity to replace environmentally insensitive plastic straws,” Weil said of his company’s mission. “At the same time, we can donate to save local species.”
“Sand Straw combines two of our passions — creative work and saving animals,” concurred Ruthenberg.
Found in everyday items like grocery bags, food containers, coffee cup lids, drink bottles and straws, the problem with plastic is it never goes away because it’s non-biodegradable. And every year, billions of pounds of plastic winds up in the world’s oceans imperiling wildlife which consumes, or gets entangled, in it.
Weil credited Starbucks Coffee, which announced it would eliminate single-use plastic straws from its 28,000-plus company-operated and licensed stores by 2020, for furthering educational efforts to warn about the environmental dangers of plastics.
Weil and Ruthenberg examined numerous materials, including paper, which proved not to be durable enough, before settling on stainless steel for plastic replacement in straws.
“It’s a good eco-friendly product that is lightweight, machine washable and recyclable,” Weil said.
Color-coded Sand Straws are named after the local animals the company is trying to save: Deep blue for dolphins, green for turtles, lavender for sea lions, gray for seabirds, fuchsia for fish and aqua for the ocean.
The company’s goal is to “strive to create a reusable straw that gives back to the marine wildlife community, with each colored straw supporting a different sea animal that is affected by plastic waste.”
With every sale, Sand Straw will donate 10 percent of the profits to a marine cause of the buyer’s choice from a list of non-profits assisting marine life.
“Everyone wants to do the right thing,” Weil said. “That’s why the online response to our straws has been so strong. It feels good to help sea animals and their habitat.”
Sand Straws may be purchased at sandstraw.com.