In honour of Straw Free Day on February 3rd, we are featuring Straw Hut Co., Calgary’s #1 provider of premium reusable eco-friendly straws. They offer a wide range of products that will meet your every need, from the classic stainless steel straws to soft silicone and even collapsible options. Be sure to visit them online and use the discount code STRAWFREE to receive 40% off your total order until February 3rd.
Name of company: Straw Hut Co.
Also sold at: Community Natural Foods, Reworks Upcycle, The Apothecary, and many more.
Social media accounts: FB/Straw Hut Co. IG: @strawhutco
Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your products and how your company came about?
We are two brothers, Michael and Keaton, who have traveled to over 50 countries totaling 7 years away from home. After visiting South East Asia for four months we saw first hand how disastrous plastic can be. This led us to create Straw Hut Co. with the vision that we could help to reduce plastic straw use with eco-friendly and ethically sourced options.
What is your biggest driver for being sustainable?
Our biggest driver for being sustainable was seeing how damaging the effect of plastic is on animals and the environment. We felt that there was no reason, given the level of technology there is in the world, that plastic is still so widely used.
How would you differentiate your products from other sustainable alternatives? What sets them apart?
Source, Quality and Selection!
One of our biggest challenges was finding ethically sourced straws with premium quality construction. We differentiate from other sustainable alternatives because after 4 months of vetting companies, we finally have an amazing selection of premium quality straws with the satisfaction of knowing that they were produced at Canadian standards (for the ones that aren’t made in Canada).
What are the biggest sustainability challenges you face personally and professionally?
Personally – A big challenge is getting friends and family to change their mentality to be more sustainable. Whether it’s recycling more, asking for no straws with their drinks or using less waste in general.
Professionally – We sell our straws at events across Calgary but also other cities in other provinces, so we are cognisant that this travel contributes to our environmental footprint. In an effort to minimize this we make sure to car pool or take public transit whenever possible. We also offer ride shares to people going to the same cities. We try our best to deliver our products to retail locations by bike as Keaton lives in downtown Calgary.
What is one thing you have done at your company to drive sustainability that other businesses could replicate as best practice?
When we order products from other countries, we ensure that we order in extremely large quantities at a time to limit our ecological footprint. We have also learned that you can couple packages together from different manufactures before shipping therefore the orders are shipped and delivered all at the same time. The logistics can be very difficult and we are prone to running out of a certain straw more often however, customers understand when we enlighten them on our efforts to reduce multiple deliveries and reduce our pollution.
What have you done outside of work to live a more sustainable life?
We have really focused on evaluating our lifestyles and understanding exactly where we produce the most waste and have the highest ecological footprints. To effectively change to a more sustainable life, it’s important that you first reflect and understand what the largest contributors of waste actually are. For us, we learned that it starts from your initial purchase so we now buy food and products that use less packaging. This paired with simple diet changes can reduce waste drastically.
Which sustainable action or change you’ve made in your life are you most proud of?
We are both really proud of how we have been able to get our friends to buy in to some of our routines and way of thinking. The pictures from Thailand and Myanmar really hit home for a lot of them about how damaging plastic can be. This has led us to have these types of conversations with many people and encourage more zero-waste living.
What is your “guilty” habit that just isn’t very sustainable? How do you plan to change it if you could?
We are both so passionate about travel, and unfortunately burning jet fuel from air planes is horrible for the ozone layer. One of the ways we limited this impact was by taking public transport or more sustainable alternatives like buses, boats and trains within countries. Fortunately, we both have a love for water and the ocean so future travel plans may involve taking sail boats or barges from continent to continent.
In one phrase, what does sustainability mean to you?
Sustainability means questioning traditional ways of thinking to find new solutions that will help preserve this amazing planet.
Can you provide three top tips for others trying to lead more sustainable lives and reduce their waste?
1. Evaluate your entire ecological footprint. You need to know what you are doing that is having the biggest negative impact on the environment.
2. Discuss with friends/ family and read online about ways to be more sustainable. For example, Keaton was reading online about ways to be more sustainable when he came across reusable beeswax wrap. He started using it and loved it. We actually ended up selling the product at markets alongside our straws.
3. Be consistent – it is important to make new habits that are more ecologically friendly, opposed to just doing something once in a while and then stopping.
4. Bonus Tip: buy a Straw Hut Co. reusable straw 😉
Which businesses besides your wonderful company would you recommend to help people reduce their waste?
We are huge fans of all the refilleries and eco-stores in town but I’m most excited to see the new Canary Goods shop open in Kensington soon.