As the backlash against plastic continues, the drinking straw is in drastic need of a redesign. Does a collapsible version made from stainless steel hold the answer?
Every day, billions of plastic drinking straws are discarded across the world. In the US alone, it’s estimated that upwards of 170 million drinking straws are used and thrown away daily. Over the past year, however, a public backlash against single-use plastic has started to gain global momentum, and it seems that the era of the plastic straw will soon be behind us. So what will replace it?
FinalStraw is a startup based in Santa Barbara, California and its founders believe they have the answer to this question: A new, alternative straw product that makes use of steel’s physical and sustainable properties.
The FinalStraw drinking straw is the world’s first collapsible metal straw and it’s built to last, withstanding up to two folds per day for 15 years. Because it’s collapsible, it’s carried easily in a pocket, handbag or as an attachment to car keys. It’s available in two colours, stainless or rainbow, and each one comes with a specially-designed cleaning sponge.
Stainless steel is fundamental to the straw’s design as it can be repeatedly and reliably sanitised due to its non-porous and corrosion-resistant properties. This allows for repeat cleaning without any physical impacts on the straw’s surface and gives it a resilient and stylish aesthetic.
Millennial entrepreneurs Emma Cohen and Miles Pepper came up with the idea, and their company FinalStraw, after mutual friends introduced them in October 2017.
The FinalStraw drinking straw is the world’s first collapsible metal straw and it’s built to last, withstanding up to two folds per day for 15 years
They were both passionate about sustainability and conservation already, and they had noticed that the metal straws on the market at that time were cumbersome to carry around. They believed that this was preventing a greater number of people from ditching single-use plastic straws in favour of a more environmentally responsible alternative.
The pair hatched a plan to design and launch their own collapsible drinking straw that was small enough to take anywhere. In March 2018, they decided to launch a crowdfunding page on Kickstarter. Their goal was to raise $12,500. It quickly became apparent, however, that they’d drastically underestimated the level of interest their campaign would attract.
Over the course of their 30-day campaign, Emma and Miles raised an astounding $1.89 million – and became part of a global sustainability movement that continues to gain pace. The first FinalStraw drinking straws were shipped out just eight months later.
Emma and Miles chose to make their product out of stainless steel for two main reasons. Firstly, it’s a strong, versatile and hygienic material that doesn’t rust – vital qualities for a reusable straw. Secondly, steel is one of the more environmentally friendly metals to mine and is 100% recyclable. The entrepreneurs were keen to ensure all the choices they made were sustainable. This is why they chose recycled paper for the product packaging too.
In 2019, under the parent company Final Co, the FinalStraw founders will release a new product line called Foreverables, intended to replace single-use utensils.