Custom Print Paper Straws from OkStraw

So the time is finally here. You’re finally making the switch to paper straws, you’re ready to save a ton of sea turtles, but you just hit a snag. Normal offerings don’t work for you, and you want your own custom print paper straw instead. You want your customers to know you’re plastic straw-free, and you want to make a statement. Or maybe you want a special theme or your own custom logo on your branded paper straws. 

That’s where OkStraw comes in with our Custom Print Paper Straws. We offer limitless combinations of colors, design options, and paper straw designs to specify. OkStraw is truly your one-stop shop for your own personal custom print and branded paper straws. 

A Rainbow of Colors

Not all custom print and branded paper straws are created equal. OkStraw Paper Straws uses the CMYK color model for our custom printed paper straws. CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow, and key, or black. By using black color plates, OkStraw’s custom print paper straws have a richer color tone, and a wider range of colors than our competitors.


Using black color plates also gives OkStraw Paper Straw’s custom straws a much wider color palette. Choose 3 from a total of 1876 Pantone Colors, and we’ll print your custom color wave. If you want one solid color for your paper straws instead, then just specify which one you want, and OkStraw will make it.

Logos and Prints to your Heart's Content

Not only does OkStraw offer a full palette of colors to choose from, but also an infinite number of designs. Our standard design is the classic spiral Striped Paper Straw, akin to a barber pole, but you can specify horizontal striping instead. OkStraw also offers repeating patterns on our paper straws, like with our Bamboo Print Boba Straws.


If stripes aren’t your cup of tea, then OkStraw can make your company’s custom logo paper straws, instead. Branded napkins, paper plates and paper cups are all ways you can get your brand identity out, so branded paper straws just make sense. Just email your designs to our team, and we’ll work with you to create your customized paper straw. We can also print custom texts or messages on our paper straws, perfect for special events, when you really want to get the word out.

    No posts found!

Custom Prints Made Easier

Best of all, custom prints and branded logos are available on ALL OkStraw paper straw models. This includes our standard Jumbo Cocktail Straws, Boba and Bubble Tea Paper Straws, Bendy Paper Straws and Paper Spoon Straws. Because we manufacture our own paper straws, we offer a 3-week lead time from our factory to your door. Free delivery sweetens the deal, too!

OkStraw Paper Straws are certified compostable, and we only use organic foodgrade kraft paper, food coloring and glues. We don’t take shortcuts, and we never compromise our commitment to making biodegradable products. So when you want your signature design, company logo or color wave, go with OkStraw, and join the Cause for Custom Print and Branded Paper Straws!

Request More Information about Custom Print Paper Straws

Custom Print

    Do you need a paper wrap to cover each individual paper straws?
  • Please describe the size/type of custom print paper straws you are looking for a price quote on. Contact or call 866.939.3227 if you need any help.
  • If you have a picture design file of the logo or custom printing you are looking to have made, please attach here.
    Drop files here or

    Time for Cruise Lines to Ditch Plastic Straws

    All aboard the cruise ship! Yes, those gigantic monoliths, full of fun and parties that ferry passengers from one warm vacation spot to the next. Unfortunately, these floating resort cities have an ugly side to them: plastic waste, and it’s worse than we thought. 

    Cruise ships have an uphill battle against plastic waste, but there are plenty of steps they can take to get the momentum going. For starters, how about ditching plastic straws, and only using paper straws? As cruise ships regularly sail through ecosystems of threatened marine animals, this seems like the biggest no-brainer. We at OkStraw challenge these cruise lines to ditch plastic straws once and for all.

    Plastic Waste Behemoths

    Modern cruise ships are notorious trash generators. Not only do they dump trash and plastic waste, but they also dump grease, oil and sewage. This waste causes tremendous harm to the oceans, because water currents carry it over long distances.


    Recently, Carnival Cruise agreed to pay a $20 million fine for illegally dumping waste out at sea. The cruise line allegedly threw massive amounts of plastic waste overboard while in the Bahamas. The damage Carnival Cruise caused to marine life has yet to be seen, but it is likely massive.

    Cruise Away from Plastic Straws

    Why should we care so much about cruise ships dumping plastic straws, though? Because they are most directly responsible for plastic polluting our oceans. Cruise ships bypass landfills, storm drains, beaches, and dump plastic directly into oceans. There are no landfills out at sea, so cruise ships treat oceans like them.

    If you’re the only defense between a plastic straw and a sea turtle, then you’re responsible for that turtle. As a passenger, you can’t rely on the cruise ship to properly dispose of your used plastic straw. If you threw that plastic straw away, then chances are it could go overboard and into the ocean.

    Make the Change to Paper Straws

    How can cruise lines prevent plastic straws from entering the ocean? Stop using them altogether. Cruise lines need to cut out plastic straws entirely, and use paper straws instead. If the cruise lines won’t change, then there is another way. Passengers need to refuse plastic straws, and bring their own paper straws, instead. 


    Cruise ships are the most direct place where switching from plastic straws to paper straws makes all the difference. People should properly dispose of or recycle paper straws, but that doesn’t always happen. When a paper straw goes overboard, it won’t harm marine animals. Paper straws biodegrade, plastic straws do not, so using paper straws is a great failsafe. With so many high quality choices from companies like OkStraw, it’s time for cruise lines to get onboard with the Cause Paper Straws.

    Paper Spoon Straws from OkStraw Slurp Up the Competition

    Summer’s in full swing, and the days just seem to get hotter and hotter. Thinking of picking up a slushie to cool off? Well go right past that plastic straw, and get yourself a spoon straw from OkStraw Paper Straws! 


    OkStraw Paper Spoon Straws are the newest offering, and they’re like no other plastic-free spoon straw you’ve tried. Tough, durable, and long lasting, these Paper Spoon Straws truly deserve to be the new member of the OkStraw family.

    Time's Up, Plastic Straw!

    Slushees were the invention of Omar Knedlik and The ICEE Company in the 1950s. A half-frozen soda, the slushee was and is a hit today. Making a straw that works with a slurpee is tough, though. Because they are made of slushed ice, you need a special straw with a spoon-shaped end to stir this beverage, and keep the flavors mixed. 

    Until now, plastic spoon straws were the only single-use straws that worked well. Spoon paper straws didn’t work well enough because they went soggy too fast, and the spoon became floppy. OkStraw Paper Spoon straws solve this problem, and with it, the plastic spoon straw’s days are numbered.

    Unparalleled Performance

    How does OkStraw make its spoon straws so tough in such a demanding drink like a slushee? The secret comes down to layers and shapes. Spoon paper straws from OkStraw are made from 4 layers of paper. This gives the straws extra thickness, rigidity and staying power. In fact, OkStraw Paper Spoon Straws are rated to last 5 hours in a slushee! 


    Perfecting the tips of our Paper Spoon Straws was no easy task, but the results speak for themselves. No more flimsy or floppy spoon ends, and no more rushing to finish your slurpee before the straw gives up the go. It’s safe to say that OkStraw won the war on brain freeze with these spoon paper straws. 

    okstraw paper straws certifications and sustainability fda food and drug administration sgs fsc forest stewardship council bfr

    Spoon Straws Any Way You Want

    OkStraw Paper Spoon Straws come in two different diameters: 6mm, and 8mm for thicker slushees. Solid colors and stripes are available, as well. Of course, custom prints are available for OkStraw Paper Spoon Straws. Show us the logo or graphic you want, and we’ll make your custom print spoon straws in a jiffy.

    For too long, the plastic spoon straw held slurpees in its grasp, but it’s all over. OkStraw’s Paper Spoon Straws deliver a crushing blow to plastic spoon straws, and slurp up the competition. Defeat the menace of the plastic straw once and for all, and Join the Cause with OkStraw’s Paper Spoon Straws!

    Request more info about our Spoon Paper Straws

    Spoon Paper Straws

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    Bendy Paper Straws from OkStraw are a Game Changer

    Paper Straws for Inclusiveness

    The Cause for Paper Straws is coming to cities across the US, with more plastic straw bans taking effect. Unfortunately, the cause wasn’t always inclusive for everyone. People with disabilities were left out, because they still had to use plastic straws. 

    Many people with disabilities needed plastic bendy straws, because there wasn’t a paper straw good enough for them. Until now, that is, because OkStraw is excited to present our brand new ADA-compliant Bendy Paper Straw. With OkStraw’s Bendy Paper Straw, people with disabilities no longer need to worry about not having a straw that works for them.

    Request more information about our U-Shaped Bendable Paper Straws

    U-Shaped Straws

    The Bendy Straw to Rule Them All

    OkStraw’s Bendy Paper Straws are a game changer for people with disabilities, because they work! Seriously, finding a suitable paper bendy straw for people with disabilities is daunting. Most bendy paper straws either do not flex enough, or they fall apart. Not OkStraw’s Bendy Paper Straws, though, because they balance strength with flexibility.

    At OkStraw Paper Straws, we applied all of our previous knowledge designing and making paper straws. Making an ADA-compliant bendy paper straw was no easy task, but we are proud of our achievement. The plastic’s straws days were running out fast, and with OkStraw Paper Bendy Straws, it’s game over!

    Flexibility in More Ways than One

    OkStraw Bendy Paper Straws are compatible with different types of Tetra Pak-type cartons. Eco-friendly, portable drinks now have paper bendy straws to go with them. OkStraw Bendy Paper Straws are also available with paper wrapping. Our goal was to be plastic-free, and our Bendy Paper Straws are a slam dunk.  

    OkStraw Paper Bendy Straws come in a variety of colors patterns, and custom print options. Show us the logo you want, and we’ll put them on the straws. OkStraw’s Bendy Paper Straws are truly the full package. Come join the Cause with OkStraw’s new Paper Bendy Straws!

    New Tiki Bar Paper Straws from OkStraw Paper Straws

    Heading out to a Tiki Bar, or throwing your Luau for friends and family? How about whipping up a big drink and share the fun. OkStraw Paper Straws is excited to present our new Tiki Paper Bar Straws, our most incredible feat in paper straw design yet! 

    What’s so incredible about our tiki paper straws? How does 21 inches sound? Yes, that’s right, 21 inches! “Impossible!”, you’ll say. “There’s no way you can make a 21 inch paper straw that works!”. Well forget what you thought about paper straws being fragile, because OkStraw has made the impossible a reality.

    How did we manage to make an 8mm 21-inch Tiki paper straw that won’t snap in half or fall apart? Well, that’s top secret, classified information. Well, kind of top secret, but here’s a hint: layering. Yes, we use our 4-ply paper straw technology. Making a paper straw out of 4-layers of foodgrade, organic kraft paper gives it both a more premium feel, and added strength.


    Don’t think we skimped on lasting power with our 21-inch, 4-ply Tiki Bar Paper Straw, either. OkStraw’s Tiki Bar Paper Straw lasts just as long as its other 4-ply stablemates in the OkStraw catalog: 5 hours! No one wants to go to a Tiki Bar or a Luau and be in a rush to finish their drink. With OkStraw’s Tiki Paper Straws, you can relax, enjoy your favorite tropical drink, and hang loose.

    Tiki Bar Paper Straws from OkStraw come in a variety of fun and tropical colors, and custom prints are available. If you’re shopping for extra long paper straws, then look no other place than OkStraw Paper Straws. Walk straight past those inferior cardboard-based long paper straws, and accept no less than our 4-ply Tiki Paper Straws.


    Whether you own a Tiki Bar or are throwing a Luau, make sure you pick up some Tiki Bar Paper Straws from OkStraw. They’ll be the talk of the party, and you’ll do your part to fight plastic ocean waste. So join the Cause for Paper Straws, and share your favorite tropical drink with OkStraw’s Tiki Paper Straws.

    Join OkStraw Paper Straws in Booth 1327 at the Western Foodservice Show in Los Angeles

    OkStraw will be in Booth 1327 at LA Convention Center

    OkStraw Paper Straws is pleased to showcase our newest line of paper straws at the Western Foodservice and Hospitality Expo 2019, from August 25th-27th. The Custom Print Western Foodservice Show Paper Straws will be provided by OkStraw to all participating vendors and attendees. 

    The Expo is at Los Angeles Convention, located at 1201 S Figueroa Ave, right next to the Staples Center. Just a short drive from Downtown Los Angeles, but right at the heart of the action.

    The Western Food Expo is the largest trade show of its type on the West Coast, with businesses from around the US and 39 countries attending. Top chefs will perform live demonstrations, and the Western Food Expo will host educational sessions. You can find OkStraw Paper Straws at Booth 1327, at Gourmet Way, where we will showcase our newest line of premium paper straws. 

    OkStraw Paper Straws will be presenting our new 4-ply Boba Tea Paper Straws

    OkStraw Paper Straw Trade Show Display for Boba Paper Straws and Bubble Tea Paper Straws, tiki paper straws, jumbo paper straws, sea turtle paper straws

    Boba and bubble tea drinks are California favorites, and OkStraw Paper Straws will present our new 4-ply Boba and Bubble Tea Paper Straws. OkStraw Boba and Bubble Tea Paper Straws won’t bend, collapse or go soggy before you finish your drink. If your business serves boba drinks, then visit the OkStraw booth and see the quality of our paper straws for yourself. 

    With more local plastic straw bans in California coming into law, Boba Tea shops need a tough, eco-friendly straw for the task. OkStraw 4-ply bubble tea paper straws punch way above their weight for a price point that companies like Aardvark simply can’t match – OkStraw Boba and Bubble Tea Paper Straws are 50-60% less expensive than! You will not find another 4-ply Boba Tea Paper Straw with this quality for the price.

    OkStraw 4-ply Spoon Paper Straws are tough, long lasting utensils for your slurpee

    The heat is on in Southern California this Summer, and more people want their icees and slushees. OkStraw Paper Straws has the perfect compliment for this summer favorite with our 4-ply Spoon Paper Straws, available in both 6mm and 8mm. OkStraw 4-ply Spoon Paper Straws are tough, long lasting utensils that hold up under the slushiest of slushies.  

    Fighting against plastic straws needs a tough but flexible solution, and OkStraw’s new U-Shaped and Bendy Paper Straws are here for the job. Yes, that’s right, paper bendy straws! People needing to u-shaped straws and bendy straws for their drinks can finally make the switch to paper straws. Thanks to OkStraw’s U-Shaped and Bendy Paper Straws, everyone is welcome abroad the Cause for Paper Straws!

    OkStraw Paper Straws offers custom print paper straws.

    A strong brand identity is a must for any business, and branded foodware is a fun way to have this. OkStraw Paper Straws offers custom print paper straws to suit your company’s needs. We offer bulk pricing, low to no lead times and international shipping to your business’ location.

    With an exciting new line of 4-ply paper Boba and Bubble Tea, Spoon, and Bendy Paper Straws available, OkStraw Paper Straws is here your business’ or restaurant’s needs. Come visit OkStraw in Booth 1327 for Western Foodservice Show Paper Straws – Join us in Los Angeles and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

    OkStraw Donates Paper Straws to Father Joe’s Villages

    Last Saturday, OkStraw Paper Straws to lent a hand to Father Joe’s Villages. We donated $300 worth of pillows, and $600 worth of paper straws. Our COO, Brent Ohlendorf, and Director of Client Relations, Edward Nickerson, along with other OkStraw volunteers, helped serve 500 hot meals to people in need. When you buy from OkStraw Paper Straws, you both reduce plastic waste, and support a business that gives back to its community!

    OkStraw’s mission is is to safeguard land and sea habitats by supplying global markets with reliable, premium strength, paper straws. We believe that mission is strengthen by supporting the needs of our community in every capacity possible. OkStraw has donated paper straws to the San Diego Food Bank and plans to continue supporting Father Joe’s Village and other valuable community resources. When we say our service is as strong as our straws, we mean our community service too!

    Brent, Edward, and Savannah from OkStraw Paper Straws

    When we say our service is as strong as our straws, we mean our community service too!

    If you live in San Diego, then chances are you’ve heard of Father Joe’s Villages. A fixture of the city and appearing on TV, the Villages gives a helping hand to the 9,000 San Diegans experiencing homelessness every day, and the 5,000 who are forced to sleep in the streets every night. 

    Father Joe’s Villages welcomes 2,000 men, women and children facing homelessness into safe shelter every night, and serves more than a million hot meals every year. When people have food, water and shelter, they can take the next steps to improve their lives. Father Joe’s Villages also provides healthcare, dental care, mental health counseling, job placement and training, and childcare services.

    Father Joe’s Villages has helped 11,000 people experiencing homelessness achieve permanent housing

    All of these services are there to help people better their lives, and help break these vicious cycles of poverty and homelessness. In the past 10 years alone, Father Joe’s Villages has helped 11,000 people experiencing homelessness achieve permanent housing. This includes several individuals with disabilities that require paper straws. Helping these people is why OkStraw set out to start our paper straw donations with the organization. We plan to continue donating our paper straws to the disabled and those in need on a continual basis. 

    Father Joe’s Villages is also in the process of serving even more people through its Turning the Key project. The organization plans to add 2,000 more affordable housing units for San Diegans overcoming homeless. With the 4th largest homeless population in the US, and the 3rd largest population of veterans experiencing homelessness, Father Joe’s Villages’ services are in greater demand than ever before. It is through the Turning the Key project that OkStraw and our sister brand EcoTrueBamboo that we donated $300 worth of bamboo pillows. You can follow EcoTrueBamboo on Facebook here: EcoTrueBamboo Facebook.

    When you buy from OkStraw Paper Straws, you are supporting a business that gives back to its community

    Father Joe Carroll, for whom the nonprofit is named, moved from the Bronx, New York to San Diego in 1963, with little money to his name. Ordained in 1974, Father Joe led a parish for the next years, until 1982, when Bishop Leo Maher approached him, and asked him to take over the St. Vincent de Paul Center. 

    Throughout the 80s, Father Joe made the innovative decision of creating a one-stop place to help people experiencing homelessness. In 1987, Father Joe opened the $12 million Joan Kroc Center, which provides healthcare, food, housing, job training, and childcare services to families and single adults in need. Although Father Joe retired in 2011, he continues to help out San Diegans experiencing homeless, and is a lasting pillar of the community. 

    OkStraw is very proud to support Father Joe’s Villages with both community service hours and donated paper straws and pillows!

    Do your part saving the Earth – There’s something YOU can do about it! Reducing or not using plastic straws. Join the cause for paper straws!

    Join us: Facebook – Instagram – Twitter

    Not all Paper Foodware is Created Equal

    With more public opposition and more crackdowns on single-use plastics, eco-friendly disposable sales are booming. It seems like every day, a new company claims its products will heal this plastic-contaminated world. 

    Not all of these so-called eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics are better for the planet, however. Some companies take shortcuts with their products, and under closer scrutiny, these eco-friendly claims start crumbling. Unlike OkStraw Paper Straws, which stands behind its eco-friendly products, these companies fall well short.

    The PFAS Menace

    Some of companies selling fiber bowls for soups and salads market them as eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic bowls. Many of these paper bowls, however, contain polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS chemicals are human made, and will never break down in the natural environment. Once PFAS chemicals enter the environment, they’re there forever.

    What’s worse, if PFAS-laced materials mix with compostable materials, they will stop everything from breaking down. These facts truly shock and appall us at OkStraw Paper Straws. If there are PFAS chemicals in fiber bowls, then what other paper foodware products contain them? How many inferior paper plates, paper straws and takeout containers out there contain PFAS? At OkStraw, we believe shortcuts like this both endanger the environment, and hurt the cause against plastic. 

    Finding a company that stands behind its eco-friendly claims is more important than ever.​

    Reusable Single-Use Plastic?

    News like this makes people think eco-friendly products are no better for the planet than single-use plastics. They might say that plastic straws can be recycled, so they are actually better than paper straws. Let’s hold on for a minute, because this argument misses the point. 


    Yes, single-use plastics are TECHNICALLY reusable, but they almost never are. Plastic straws are too thin and flimsy to hold up long term, and most facilities can’t recycle them. Not only this, but plastics never truly decompose. They break apart into tiny pieces, or microplastics. These microplastics are now in the water we drink, the food we eat, and even the air we breathe. We need truly biodegradable, eco-friendly products that kick our addiction to plastic once and for all.

    okstraw paper straws certifications and sustainability fda food and drug administration sgs fsc forest stewardship council bfr

    OkStraw Never Compromises

    Finding a company that stands behind its eco-friendly claims is more important than ever, but where? Where do you find a company that truly stands behind its biodegradable claims? OkStraw knows making real eco-friendly product leaves no room for shortcuts. That’s why at OkStraw Paper Straws, we go the distance, and never compromise our mission of sustainability.

    OkStraw’s paper straws are PFAS free, and are made from organic paper, food dye, and glue. Unlike inferior BFAS-containing products, our paper straws won’t interfere with other properly biodegradable foodware. Should an OkStraw paper straw end up in the ocean or on the ground, it won’t stick around for long. 

    Paper Straws that Protect the Planet

    OkStraw’s paper straws also carry the organic composting company Cedar Grove’s seal of approval. Cedar Grover is a member of the nationwide Composting Manufacturing Alliance (CMA). CMA’s partners rigorously field test biodegradable foodware, ensuring these products truly compost in the natural world. OkStraw doesn’t just talk a good game about making biodegradable paper straws. We have the credentials to prove it. 

    We make our paper straws from materials that exist in this ecosystem, not from fossil fuels or synthetic chemicals. OkStraw’s paper straws are born from our living planet, and when they reach the end of their service life, they return to it. With OkStraw Paper Straws, there are neither shortcuts nor compromises. Just strong American quality.

    OkStraw Paper Straws and the Threat from Microplastics

    OkStraw's Warning on Plastic Waste

    At OkStraw Paper Straws, we ask ourselves: “is plastic is really everywhere?”. Plastic is on the ground, in waterways, in our planet’s oceans, and almost every object we use has some level of plastic in it. Is this really true, however? Has plastic become so pervasive that it has literally entered every space of our planet? With the results of US Geological Survey researcher Gregory Wetherbee’s recent discovery, the answer is clearly becoming “yes”.

    Wetherbee was analyzing collected samples of freshly fallen rainwater gathered high up on the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and discovered microplastic fibers in the samples. We at OkStraw Paper Straws are alarmed to hear the extent to which plastic is contaminating our planet. When was the last time you’ve heard someone talk about biodegradable paper straws washing up ashore? Probably not as recently as you’ve heard about plastic straws, and those are only visible pieces of plastic.

    Microplastics in Places You Never Expected

    Wetherbee’s discovery appalls us at OkStraw, but it’s not the first time microplastics turned up in remote locations. Scientists found microplastics in the Pyrnees Mountains, in British rivers, and American groundwater. If the microplastics in snow and rainfall wasn’t shocking enough, then their sheer concentration will. 

    Scientists working in the Arctic Circle estimated that for every liter of melted snow they collected, there were 10,000 pieces of microplastic. How many of these 10,000 pieces of microplastic came from a plastic straw that someone used instead of eco-friendly paper straws? Likely more than we could ever imagine. 

    Microplastics are the result of our failure to recycle plastic waste

    Consequences of Plastic Waste

    Stories like this remind us why switching from plastics to biodegradable paper is so important. Microplastics in these far flung areas are the result of our failure to recycle plastic waste. Unrecycled plastic eventually breaks down into tiny, imperceptible fragments, or microplastics. Winds and water currents then carry these microplastics to places we didn’t expect.

    These microparticles in the water, on land and in the air could come from anything. They could be particles emitted from factories, plastic straws that broke apart, or even synthetic fibers shedding from our clothes. On the other hand, items like paper straws, paper bags and natural fibers harmlessly disintegrate.

    If our planet falls to plastic waste, then we are going down with it

    OkStraw Paper Straws for our Health and the Planet's

    What do microplastics in the air mean for humans? They mean that not only are we eating and drinking microplastics, we are also inhaling them. Microplastics are also known to attach themselves to toxic metals, including mercury. Microplastics can bind to bacteria, and can make us sick if we inhale them. Unlike the fossil fuel in plastic straws, the wood from paper straws is part of our natural environment, and once it breaks down, it naturally recycles. 

    With microplastics in our air, food, and drinking water, when can we finally say “enough”? Now’s the time wake up, and realize that if our planet falls to plastic waste, then we are going down with it. At OkStraw, we fight microplastics by offering a sustainable alternative with our paper straws. We can assure you that you won’t find an OkStraw paper straw in the Arctic, unless it’s in a drink.

    OkStraw Paper Straws Supports the Surfrider Foundation

    The fight single-use plastic waste brings in new supports each and every day, thanks to the work of environmental groups. OkStraw Paper Straws would like to recognize a true guardian of our hometown San Diego’s beaches: The Surfrider Foundation.

    Founded in 1984, Surfrider is headquartered in California, and has chapters throughout the US, Hawai’i, Puerto Rico, and several countries. The Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego County chapter dedicates itself to protect its 72 miles of coastline. As beach-going San Diegans, we at OkStraw Paper Straws owe our deepest gratitude to Surfirder’s tireless work.

    The Surfrider Foundation fights against single-use plastic waste through its Rise Above Plastic campaign.

    OkStraw Paper Straws at Surfrider's Fiesta Island Cleanup

    Stop Plastic Waste at the Source

    Part of the fight against trash harming marine animals is to stop it before it can enter the ocean. Surfrider hosts regular beach cleanups, removing over 31,000 pounds of trash in just the past two years. As important as beach cleanups are, however, we need to stop wasting plastic to begin with. Small steps like replacing plastic straws and bags with paper straws and bags keeps our beaches cleaner and healthier. 

    The Surfrider Foundation fights against single-use plastic waste through its Rise Above Plastic campaign. Surfrider has a list on its website of ten ways people can fight single-use plastic waste, including supporting plastic bag bans, bringing your own mug or beverage container, and cutting down on plastic packaging and straws. Keeping San Diego’s beaches and its marine animals healthy and safe is a monumental responsibility. We at OkStraw do our part to kick single-use plastics, one straw at a time.

    Surfrider hosts an online pledge to stop using single-use plastic straws.

    Surfrider maintains a list of local restaurants and cafes that qualify as Ocean Friendly Restaurants. Ocean Friendly Restaurants must follow proper recycling practices, they cannot use polystyrene containers, single-use tableware, or plastic bags. Ocean Friendly Restaurants must only offer straws on request. 

    Surfrider of San Diego County also hosts an online pledge people can sign to stop using single-use plastic straws. At OkStraw Paper Straws, ending the plastic straw is part of our company’s mission. 

    Surfrider of San Diego County also focuses on publicly advocating for the pollution issue affecting beaches in the border region. Sewage runoff from Tijuana, Mexico poses a serious health hazard to beachgoers on both sides of the border, causing beaches such as Rosarito, Coronado, Imperial Beach to be closed to the public. With no action being taken by the federal government, it is up to nonprofits like the Surfrider Foundation to raise the alarm, and combat this health threat to both San Diego County’s and Mexico’s beaches.

    From campaigning to end single-plastics waste, advocating public action against coastal pollution, to hosting trash cleanups, the Surfrider Foundation takes a holistic approach to protect San Diego County’s Beaches. All of these efforts are a reminder that while the cause to end plastic waste is a major effort in itself, it’s just one of many battles that must be waged to protect our planet’s rivers, lakes and oceans. We at OkStraw Paper Straws would like to extend greatest appreciation to nonprofits like the Surfrider Foundation for fighting to keep San Diego America’s Finest City.

    OkStraw Donates Paper Straws to the San Diego Food Bank

    We often talk about changes we can make to live more sustainably, such as shopping with reusable bags, and replacing plastic with paper straws. What we often don’t talk about enough, however, is food waste. Uneaten food that goes to waste puts a huge burden on our planet, and makes food insecurity worse. Organizations like the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and its North County Food Bank chapter, however, are leading the charge against food waste by providing hunger relief to the most vulnerable people in this county. 


    Distributing 28 million pounds of food in 2018 alone, and serving an average of 350,000 people in need each month, the Food Bank is the largest organization of its type in San Diego County. With 1 in 7 adults and 1 in 5 children in San Diego County facing food insecurity, the San Diego Food Bank is a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of people. It is also a role model for sustainability, and the fight against food waste.  

    San Diego Food Bank is making a major local contribution toward the global fight against food waste.

    Food waste is a significant threat to the health of our planet. Globally, an estimated $750 billion worth of food is wasted, and according to a study by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, food waste is responsible for 3.3 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. If the emissions resulting from food waste were a country, it would be the third largest contributor to climate change behind China and the United States. 

    Food waste is also causing serious harm to world nutrition. In 2015, more than 150 countries assembled at the United Nations to agree on the Sustainable Development Goals, with 2030 as the year to reach these goals. In order to meet the goal of meeting food security, the world must cut down its food waste by 50 percent. By distributing food donated by local restaurants and businesses, the San Diego Food Bank is making a major local contribution toward the global fight against food waste. 

    The only food distribution center in the world with an LEED v4 accolade

    San Diego Food Bank is also a role model for sustainability in the County. Thanks to 1,400 solar panels, the Food Bank’s 90 thousand foot warehouse is completely energy independent, significantly reducing its carbon footprint. With this energy saved, the San Diego Food Bank has been able to provide families in need with an addition 600,000 meals each year.

    The San Diego Food Bank also boasts an impressive composting machine that can separate food waste from plastic, paper and aluminum food packaging, which is sent to recycling. The Food Bank then sends this compost to nonprofit organizations that run community gardens. All of these green initiatives led to San Diego Food Bank’s facility being first and only building in the County to attain LEED v4 Gold Status certification, and the only food bank in the world with an LEED v4 accolade.  

    OkStraw Paper Straws is proud to be the latest local business to contribute to the San Diego Food Bank’s mission

    The San Diego Food Bank relies on donations from local individuals and businesses to provide residents with the necessary help. OkStraw is proud to be the latest local business to contribute to the San Diego Food Bank’s mission, donating 75,000 biodegradable paper straws. This amounts to nearly 2000 dollars worth of paper straws, which will go to local community centers, churches and food drives. We at OkStraw Paper Straws are honored to contribute to San Diego Food Bank’s mission to end hunger in the County, and lead the fight for sustainability. 

    McDonald’s “Unrecyclable” Paper Straws

    McDonald’s recently admitted that the paper straws it rolled out last year in its UK and Ireland restaurants are not recyclable. This news marks the latest PR snag for the multinational restaurant corporation’s switch from plastic straws. 

    McDonald’s replaced plastic straws with biodegradable paper straws at these restaurants in 2018, after other corporations stopped using plastic straws. The switch to paper was also necessary, as the UK government banned single-use plastic straws and drink stirrers. At OkStraw, we understand this issue, but we are not dissuaded from standing behind eco-friendly straws.

    McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland is advising people to treat their new straws as waste items.

    Using high quality paper straws is a must.

    Paper Straw Struggles

    McDonald’s paper straw switch had growing pains with its customers. People initially complained that these biodegradable straws were collapsing in milkshakes, and were dissolving too quickly. Photos of McDonald’s-branded drinks with bent, soggy and collapsed straws began spreading across social media platforms.

    McDonald’s responded to these complaints by making their biodegradable paper straws thicker, but this caused new problems. These new straws were too thick to be recycled by waste processing machines. McDonald’s announced that it is working with its waste management providers to resolve this issue. Until then, however, McDonald’s in the UK and Ireland is advising people to throw their new straws in the trash.

    Single-use plastic straws are almost never recycled

    Real Cost of Biodegradable Straws

    Critics pointed out that McDonald’s replaced recyclable plastic straws with non-recyclable paper straws. While this may be true in theory, in reality, single-use plastic straws are almost never recycled. Most recycling facilities cannot process plastic straws, because they are too flimsy. Plastic straws end up as trash, and often wreak havoc on our environment.

    While some biodegradable straws are not easily recyclable, what they do to the environment is a world of difference from plastic straws. Organic paper that end up in waters safely biodegrades, and does not endanger animals. Plastic straws on the other hand will continue to endanger the wellbeing of marine animals and eventually humans. At OkStraw, we know the real cost of paper straws is far less than plastic straws.

    Plastic straws can cause irreparable harm to the environment

    McDonald's Sticks to Paper Straws

    While some people want McDonald’s to bring back plastic straws, the company is holding steady to its paper commitment. With the UK’s plastic straw ban and growing public support for the ban, McDonald’s is on the right path. 


    We at OKStraw would like to commend McDonald’s for committing to end plastic waste. Yes, they may face some disapproval, and there will be growing pains. Ultimately, however, the most important things in our lives are the ones worth fighting for. We only have one planet, and keeping it healthy might be the most important of all.