Why Straws You Weirdo Part 1?
Three weeks in a row… look at me go! (Ok I wrote this on the 22nd so it was three weeks ago before I posted it mwahaha…)
Today I am going to write to answer a question I get asked a lot… Why Straws?
For those of you that don’t me I’m ex-military and Ex pat kiwi and in those two adjectives right there you see why I get asked Why straws on the frequent. More so from my mates and people back home who I served with because trust me when I say New Zealand, or the military are not knowing for their straw making / selling capability. Truth be told the easiest answer is why not?
Let’s go back 5 years to when I became a Mozzie (a Māori Kiwi living in Australia). I came over with 8 years military service and 2 degrees one in IT and one in Marketing. I didn’t want to join the Aussie DF so I fell on my degree and started looking for a job in digital marketing in the GC. Found one and worked for a family business redoing their website and catalogues, passion was not there but I loved my bosses and workmates plus It literally was like a working holiday living here in the Gold Coast. (When you have lived in Palmerston north, living in Antarctica could be a working holiday). In 2018/2019 we had something to work for our family was going to be taken a 6-week vacation across America and Fiji so that was 2018 taken care of.
October 2018 my sister gave me an eco-pack for my birthday, reusable wraps, keep cup, a reusable something else and you guessed in my first pack of metal straws. To be honest I was in love with my keep cup and the beeswax wraps but the other thing I can’t even remember, and the metal straws were like yeah ok cool but am I really going to take these around with me? Keeping in mind we had not gone single use plastic free yet either.
I remember sometime that week trying them out with my homemade protein shake and it was because they were there that I actually thought to use to them (I was someone who brought the 20 pack of decko plastic straws for my shakes because well In all honestly it just tastes better with a straw). Anyway, Damn Dani…. The metal straw with the shake (protein powder, frozen berries and banana and ice) made it like the best thing ever…. For some one who has had a stable shake diet for the past 8 years this was literally a game change…yup it was that good.
So that was my first recollection of metal straws. We then went on our holiday, was bloody awesome thanks for asking. And these metal straws started popping up everywhere… my reticular activated system was on fire! They were every where in Los Angeles at all the cafes we went to and in New York at this cute af rooftop bar… some hotel I can’t remember even served my stepsons room service shake with one.
We returned from the best holiday in our lives to what was not at all the worst place to return too the Gold Coast of Australia. Home. At work the next day I text my partner… yeah nah (it’s what us kiwis say on the daily) I’m ready to go travelling again babe…. He replied with “maaatttteeee (this is what aussies say on the frequent) best you find a side hustle then cause we are broke… find that side hustle and we will use that money to travel again. I contacted a straw supplier to get the samples sent within the hour.
Here is a photo of the first market I attended with my cool stand. Ihi actually turned our coffee and milo tins upside down and drilled holes in them to make my straw display unit you can see in this photo. He ran his business at the markets on the other 75% of the stand. This photo is March 2019 Beaudesert Markets. I think I sold about $25 worth of straws that day.
I’m telling you this side of the story, not to bore you but to show you I don’t come from a tree hugging background I am not vegan (big ups however to those that are) I was raised on meat, two vege and spuds. I do meat free Mondays etc. but I don’t hold it against anyone who like a bit of purple meat. I also believe that shouldn’t define you as a good or bad person. I don’t think it should stop you from saying you are eco-conscious, or you care about the environment for fear of being called a hypocrite.
Go, walk outside (because I am sure you are reading this in worktime) … go walk outside and yell out… I LOVE ME A MEDIUM RARE STEAK and I CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT. Besides the sideways glances you’ll get for talking about a steak at 0930 am and yelling about it with such passion. No one has the right to say you don’t care about the environment or are eco conscious because you love a feed of steak. If any one does have the cheek to say something give them my email address… email@example.com so I can tell them to SUCKIT… It pisses me off that all the assholes think they can tell you what you can and cannot do because of a stereotype that another asshole has made a label from one of a person’s millions of actions… SUCKIT.
Any way rant over … but that is one of the reasons I am now so passionate about what I do. Back to straws. The first reason I started pushing to sell and develop my business around reusable straws was for me it was a change I could make in my life that didn’t impact my lifestyle. I was having my shakes either at work or home both with a fully functional kitchen to clean my straw after use all good. I also started to research the environmental impact I was having by switching my plastic straw to metal.
Now hold on to your seats team… this is where shit gets wild. It was (back then) estimated that Australia used and discarded over 10 million straws a day!!!! … that is roughly 3.5 billion straws a year. That’s about 159 straws each human individually uses a year!! Shit me! It does make sense though right? Even if you say you don’t use a straw with each drink you have or you don’t even buy takeaway drinks that much. As a society, as a population we can thank old telly tubby takeaway terry for his 3 x a day combos.
My research also showed me that on average for every reusable straw brought you remove over 500 single use straws from circulation. So, you can see that for me a person who has a shake almost every other day my reusable straw game was tight and making a huge impact for very little effort and really NO change to my lifestyle.
For me Reusable Straws became my change for good, my mitigation for eating meat I guess you could say.
I was brought up with this utmost respect for the ocean and her power. I don’t litter and I will pick up rubbish that I see when we do our daily walks down the beach. I respect mother nature but I am not a hippy (again respect to those that are, this is not shitting on hippies, I just love my Nikes too much). I think that if we all worked on a mitigation rather than going “all in” on things especially being eco conscious then we can all make the impact we need to make to live a life we are proud of and a way of living we can pass on to future generations.
So, to answer your question, the reason I got into selling reusable straws in one word is not passion, nor is it profit, but mitigation. I saw something I could supply that wouldn’t cost the earth nor would it cost people their lifestyle, but it would help our war on waste and providing a sustainable future.
Why did I event a straw cleaning rack and why did I take my straws to the hospitality industry… well that would be giving away next weeks blog. For now my reason as lame as it maybe to you for leaving my full time job in Marketing, after 8 years military service is going to have to do….
As I say… you do you boo :P