Boba Guys Choose Bamboo Fiber Straws

San Francisco-based bubble tea company Boba Guys announced that they will use bamboo fiber straws at all their locations. With this announcement, Boba Guys are poised to lead the way in bubble tea sustainability. Although finding the right straw was no easy endeavor, Boba Guys’ efforts paid off.

We at OkStraw Paper Straws want to commend Boba Guys for choosing a sustainable alternative. After all, while our straws might be different, both OkStraw and Boba Guys lead the cause against plastic waste. We’re excited to see Boba Guys’ future of biodegradable straws.

The co-founders of Boba Guys
San Francisco Mayor London Breed (center) visits Boba Guys

For a Plastic-Free Future

Boba Guys’ quest that led to choosing bamboo fiber straws was the result of the founders’ principles, and local legislation. Boba Guys is based in San Francisco, placing them at the center of the new plastic straw ban. Additionally, with Bay Area cities banning plastic straws, ditching plastic across all their chains made perfect sense. 

Principle also drove Boba Guys’ switch to bamboo fiber straws. Boba Guys’ founders wanted to lead by example, and encourage people to switch away from plastic. With more individuals ditching plastic, the results will add up, and our planet can start healing. At OkStraw, we love reading about Boba Guys’ passion for inspiring others, and knowing we share the same convictions.

Why Choose Bamboo Fiber Straws?

With all the plastic straw alternatives out there, why did Boba Guys decide on bamboo fiber straws? According to one of the cofounders, Andrew, biodegradability was a key deciding factor. While many alternative straws are compostable, they aren’t always biodegradable.

While PLA straws are compostable, they don’t break down easily in the ocean, potentially harming marine animals. This is why San Francisco banned PLA straws, along with conventional plastic straws. Whereas bamboo fiber straws biodegrade easily, just like OkStraw’s paper straws. 

Along with being biodegradable, bamboo fiber straws are great performers. Boba Guys chose these straws because of their neutral flavor and toughness. In fact, high quality paper straws like OkStraw’s are the only true single-use competitors to bamboo fibers. OkStraw’s biodegradable paper straws are ocean safe, our 4-ply choices last 5 hours in drinks, and don’t flavor drinks.  

Bamboo Fiber vs Paper

Yes, bamboo fiber straws have one advantage over paper straws: hot temperature durability. Premium paper straws can hold up in warmer drinks, but bamboos are good for up to 212 degrees. On the contrary, paper straws are easier to dye and print on than bamboo, and they’re also cheaper. So while bamboo fiber straws are one color and lumpy, paper straws are any color you want, and are perfectly round.


We at OkStraw Paper Straws give our congratulations to Boba Guys for ditching plastic straws for good. While paper straws may suit a wider audience, bamboo fiber straws are an excellent biodegradable choice. Boba Guys are making a major investment, but the future dividends for our planet will be huge. So to all the businesses out there, ditch the plastic, start a trend, and join the Cause for Eco-Friendly Straws!

Union City to Ban Plastic Straws

Union City is set to be the newest municipality in California set to ban plastic straws. Citing the need to reduce litter and plastic waste in waterways, the City Council passed the bill unanimously. Taking effect on Jan. 1, 2020, the law requires businesses to only hand out compostable paper straws on request.

In addition to banning plastic straws, the law requires businesses only hand out disposable foodware on request. This list includes paper napkins, single-use takeout containers, and cutlery. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we’re excited to see another city in our home state move away around plastic. 

Plastic straws are no longer welcome in Union City

Union City’s Council passed the ban unanimously.

Implementing the Plastic Straw Ban

Union City’s plastic straw ban follows other Bay Area cities, including Palo Alto, Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland, and San Francisco. In addition to local bans, the State of California already restricts plastic drinking straws to an upon-request basis. Union City’s plastic straw ban will affect about 200 businesses, who will need to use compostable alternatives.


While the plastic straw ban takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, Union City won’t begin enforcing it until July 1. Giving a 6-month grace period will allow businesses to deplete their plastic supply, and acquire paper straws. According to city staffers, Union City wants to work with violating businesses to make them compliant, rather than fining them. In the coming months, city staffers will visit each business, and discuss how to comply with the plastic straw ban. 

Quality Paper Straws For Union City

While Union City will work with businesses to switch over, not everyone is excited with the plastic straw ban. Even with more bans driving demand up, paper straws often cost more than plastic. At OkStraw, we understand cost concerns, and that’s why we offer premium paper straws at affordable prices. With factory-direct pricing for our paper straws, choosing OkStraw makes great financial sense. 


Although Union City businesses supported banning plastic straws, they didn’t think their customers would. City staffers cited customers unhappy with collapsed, soggy paper straws. These stories are all-too familiar with us at OkStraw, and they’re because of low quality paper straws. Unlike other inferior paper straws, OkStraw’s 3-ply paper straws last 3 hours, and our 4-plies at least 5!


Low quality paper straws have no place hurt the consumer experience
OkStraw Paper Bendy Straws are true alternatives to plastic.

Last Stand for Bendy Plastic Straws

Although otherwise comprehensive, Union City’s ban will still allow plastic bendy straws for people with disabilities. Disability rights advocates previously criticized plastic bans, because many people with disabilities need bendy straws to drink. Without any viable paper alternatives, plastic straws held on.

Until now, that is, because OkStraw’s Bendy Paper Straws deliver the final blow to their plastic foe. Our Bendy Paper Straws are ADA-compliant, making them a top choice for people who need them. With OkStraw ADA-compliant paper straws, Union City can both be inclusive, and be 100-percent plastic straw free.

Here’s to a Plastic-Free Future

We’d like to commend Union City for taking the big leap to give plastic straws the boot. Thanks to affordable and strong paper straws from companies like OkStraw, making the switch won’t be hard. Whether you serve bubble tea, slushies, or need ADA-compliant bendy paper straws, OkStraw has you covered.

With Union City joining the party, the Bay Area looks poised to ditch plastic straws altogether. At OkStraw, we’re calling out for folks across the US to say farewell to plastic straws, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

How Paper Straws Help Fight Climate Change

You’ve seen it all over the news, the world’s on strike to fight climate change! People from all walks of life on every inhabited continent are demanding true action to save our planet. We need renewable energy, no plastic waste, and polluting corporations held accountable. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we know the damage plastic companies cause, and we’re here to disrupt the industry.

“But what do paper straws have to do with climate change?” you may ask. Most of us know how harmful plastic waste is to our planet. Breaking down into microscopic pieces, plastic contaminates water, and soil. Marine animals often mistakenly eat plastic, risking serious injuries or death. Plastic waste is literally everywhere on our planet, and it’s a clear and present danger to everyone.


Plastic Waste and Climate Change

Byproducts of plastics are just a threat to our oceans and our bodies, however, they’re also fueling climate change. According to the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), the plastics industry is the second largest and fastest growing contributor to greenhouse emissions. In order to make plastic, companies have to extract fossil fuels, and burn them, emitting large amounts of carbon.

Unless we quit using plastic, CIEL estimates that by 2050, plastic production will account for 13% of Earth’s “carbon budget”. In order words, the carbon budget is how much carbon humans can produce before we cause uncontrollable climate change. Incidentally, 2050 is also the year scientists predict that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. 

Paper Straws for Sustainability

It should be clear by now that cutting out plastic straws isn’t just some “feel-good” token gesture, it’s part of fighting climate change. However, you might ask: “but you use paper, and doesn’t that mean less trees to absorb carbon?”. That depends on how a company sources its paper. Some companies slash and burn irreplaceable forests, like what’s happening to the Amazon, which damages our climate. 

At OkStraw Paper Straws, this is something we never practice nor condone. We source all wood for our paper straws from a sustainably-managed forest. That means when we fell a tree, we replace it with 4 trees; we don’t deforest for profit. As a result, OkStraw Paper Straws is compliant with both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). 

Time’s Up for Plastic Straws

As with our kraft paper, OkStaw takes no shortcuts with our materials. We only use organic food dyes and glue in our biodegradable and compostable paper straws. Once an OkStraw Paper Straw reaches the end of its life, it returns to nature. This is something plastic straws will never do…well at least not for the next 1000 years. So what do paper straws have to do with climate change? The answer should be clear by now: everything.

At OkStraw, we know even thing as small as a paper straws are still part of a bigger picture. That bigger picture is sustainable environmental stewardship, respect for the planet, and moving away from fossil fuel-based resources. In this globalized age, every item, no matter how small, makes an impact far bigger than you’d ever think. OkStraw’s paper straws are here to end plastic straws’ reign of terror for good, and help repair our climate. 

Norwalk, Connecticut to Restrict Plastic Straws

The city council in Norwalk, Connecticut is about to take a big step in the battle against plastic waste with an incoming ordinance. When it takes effect, the ordinance will ban plastic stirrers, and restrict plastic straws. Soon, Norwalk restaurants can only give patrons plastic straws upon request.

Citing the need to protect the environment, Norwalk’s city council has been drafting the ordinance for the last few months. During that time, the city council heard concerns from numerous residents and advocates, and wrote the bill carefully. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we’re excited to see more cities ditch plastic straws, and embrace sustainability.

Norwalk’s City Council will vote on the plastic straw and stirrer law.
Norwalk has already banned polystyrene and plastic bags.

Norwalk Goes Plastic Free

Not only will the bill affect plastic straws, but also ban plastic drink stirrers. Though they get less attention than plastic straws, plastic stirrers still hurt marine animals, and they don’t get recycled. Most of all, compostable wood stirrers and paper straws are readily available, so we don’t need plastic stirrers. By banning this completely unnecessary item, OkStraw Paper Straws believes Norwalk is doing the right thing.

Norwalk’s plastic straw and stirrer law isn’t the first anti-plastic ordinance the city passed. On September 11th, Norwalk outlawed polystyrene items, and on July 8th, the city’s plastic bag ban took effect. Norwalk’s polystyrene ban will take effect on the same day as the plastic straw and stirrer law, Earth Day, 2020. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we are thrilled to see Norwalk take such a comprehensive approach to ending plastic waste. 

Norwalk’s Residents on Plastic Straws

So far, Norwalk’s plastic straw and stirrer ordinance has the support from local environmental advocates. Among them is Betty Ball, founder ofSkip the Plastic Norwalk. Speaking firsthand, Ball cited how many plastic straws and stirrers her group picked up in citywide cleanups. At OkStraw Paper Straw, we this story is all-too familiar to us. Plastic straws are often thrown away without thought, where they pollute the environment, and harm marine animals. 

One of the few objections to banning plastic straws outright has been disability rights concerns. For many people with disability access needs, plastic bendy straws are a necessity. After hearing from disability rights advocates, Norwalk’s city council will all people to receive plastic straws on request. While this means Norwalk will stop short of banning plastic straws, they will be ADA compliant. 

Bendy straws are necessary for many people with disabilities.

Paper Straws for Norwalk

While Norwalk wants to ditch plastic straws, being ADA compliant means allowing people access to bendy plastic straws. Bendiness was the last bastion of the plastic straw, but thanks to OkStraw’s Bendy Paper Straws, the tides are turning. That’s because our ADA-compliant Bendy Paper Straws solve the flexibility and strength issues that plagued lesser paper straws. 

With OkStraw Paper Bendy Straws, plastic bendy straws are obsolete. This means cities like Norwalk can fully ban plastic straws, while also complying with the ADA. With each new ban, the market for biodegradable paper straws is growing day by day. With offerings like Boba Tea Paper Straws, Spoon Paper Straws, and any custom print you want, OkStraw makes them all. So folks of Norwalk, ditch the plastic, help the planet, and Join the Cause for Paper Straws!

DFW Airport to Phase Out Plastic Straws

Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport just announced that it will no longer offer plastic straws at its facilities. As a result, DFW will cut out 4 million plastic straws, or two tons, per year. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we are excited to hear this move to eradicate harmful plastic straws, and turn to eco-friendly solutions. 

This is big news for introducing more people to eco-friendly solutions like paper straws. DFW is America’s fourth busiest airport, seeing 63 million passengers pass through its gates every year. With more cities, facilities and companies passing bans, the wave against plastic straws is more unstoppable than ever. 


Restaurants at DFW must switch to plastic straw alternatives.

DFW the Newest Sustainable Airport

Under DFW’s new policy, and vendors and restaurants must go strawless, or offer alternatives like paper straws. The airport won’t fine violators, however, nor will they set a deadline. Nevertheless, DFW will install 6,000 signs throughout the airport to warn passengers about this change. This won’t be a problem, though, because we at OkStraw believe that as more people use eco-friendly paper straws, they won’t miss plastic.

DFW’s spokesperson Cynthia Vega said that most of the airport’s food and beverage vendors are happy to ditch plastic straws. Furthermore, Vega remarked that DFW will encourage vendors to offer naturally compostable alternatives like paper straws on request. With 63 million passengers passing through its terminals, DFW will be a global ambassador for switching paper straws. As Californians, we at OkStraw can’t believe the Lone Star State beat us in ditching plastic straws at airports!

Working Toward Ending Plastic Straws

This change didn’t happen suddenly, as DFW notified vendors beforehand, and helped them find eco-friendly paper straw providers. While DFW will phase out plastic straws, passengers with disabilities will still be able to get them. Furthermore, the plastic straw ban will not extend to airlines operating at DFW, though American Airlines phased out plastic straws.

DFW isn’t the first airport to ditch plastic straws. Earlier this year, Dubai Airports in the UAE announced that they will discontinue plastic straws. Dubai’s airports are the busiest in the world, with 88 million people passing through them in 2018 alone. Although DFW is far less busy than Dubai, this is still a huge step toward ending plastic straws.

American Airlines has ditched plastic straws

Paper Straws for the Future DFW

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we believe DFW’s switch away from plastic straws will have a global impact. Because people from around the world pass through them every day, airports carry ideas and experiences across thousands of miles. Every person who uses a paper straw at DFW will have a new experience to bring home. As more people hear about these experiences, they will want to learn how switching to biodegradable straws helps the planet. 

OkStraw is a San Diego-based manufacturer and vendor, offering premium biodegradable paper straws at unbeatable prices. Thanks to our advanced R&D, we have paper straws to suit any drink, including slushies, tiki drinks, boba tea, with custom print options. On top of that, all OkStraw paper straws are certified organic, compostable, and are hypoallegenic we never take shortcuts. So next time you fly into DFW, remember to ditch the plastic, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

India to Ban Single-Use Plastics

The Indian government just announced that it will ban disposable and single-use plastics. Taking effect on October 2nd, the ban outlaws plastic straws, packaging, bags, cups, and foodware. While several states like Maharashtra passed their own bans, this new law affects the entire country.

Plastic waste is a national crisis in India, but this ban goes a long way to solve it. As opponents of single-use plastic, OkStraw Paper Straws is happy to see India take action. OkStraw knows that drastic times call for drastic measures, and with this new ban, India has a greener future on its horizon.  

Plastic waste hurts animals like cows, which live in populated areas.

India’s Single-Use Plastic Problem

India is a young, rapidly developing nation of 1.3 billion people, but it suffers from pollution. As a result, cities like Gurudam are among the world’s most polluted, and plastic waste is no better. Plastic waste kills India’s animals, destroys natural habitats, and threatens people’s health. Furthermore, microplastics are a major threat to India’s ecosystem, because they pollute the water, air and soil. 

People in India recycle a large portion of plastic, but it’s not enough to reduce plastic waste. In fact, estimates say that by 2022, the average Indian person will use nearly 50 pounds of plastic every year. That means no matter how much plastic India recycles, there will still be more polluting the environment. India needs extreme measures to solve this crisis, and we at OkStraw think a single-use plastics ban might be it. 

Modi’s Campaign Against Plastic

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made fighting plastic waste and pollution a national issue. On August 15th, Modi asked Indians to reject single-use plastics, and plans to phase them out entirely by 2022. With his campaign, Modi wants to create a plastic-free legacy for 1.3 billion people. 


Banning single-use plastics nationwide won’t be easy, however, according to New Delhi-based columnist Archana Jyoti. Jyoti explains that India needs viable alternatives to replace single-use plastics, and people need to abide by the law. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we understand this concern, but Indians need not fear, because sustainable solutions are already here. 

Prime Minister Modi vows to end plastic waste in India.

Solutions for a Plastic-Free India

Thanks to growing opposition to single-use plastic waste, biodegradable solutions are hitting the market. In this new market, Indian entrepreneurs are introducing natural, renewable solutions to single-use plastics. We at OkStraw Paper Straws eagerly await to see new solutions to single-use plastics from India’s new entrepreneurs. 

OkStraw Paper Straws is no stranger to the struggle to create true plastic alternatives. We know the sleepless nights and the trial and error, because we’ve been there. In the end, we created paper straws for any drink, from boba tea to slushies. So while India’s single-use plastic ban shuts one door, it opens far more new doors for entrepreneurs. With each plastics ban, the market for compostable goods keeps growing. And now with 1.3 billion more people, the market just got a whole lot bigger!

Microplastics Found in Tampa Bay, Florida

Microplastic Crisis on the Gulf

While packing our bags for the Florida Restaurant Show in Orlando, we heard news that shocked us. Right down the Florida Gulf Coast, scientists discovered massive amounts of microplastics are in Tampa Bay. This is yet another story of scientists finding massive amounts of microplastics in the environment, and it’s not improving. 

At OkStraw Paper Straws, we take this microplastic threat extremely seriously. There’s no telling what long term health effects microplastics will have on people and animals, but they can’t be good. The Tampa Bay microplastics discovery shows us that plastic waste is yet another part of our planet’s environmental crisis. 


The Tampa Bay Area is home to over millions of people
Scientists discovered microplastics in virtually every environment

How Microplastics Were Discovered

Professor David Hastings and his students at Eckerd College made the microplastics discovery, while studying plankton specimens. Hastings wanted to investigate further, and teamed up with Kinsley McEachern, a recent environmental science graduate from the University of Florida St. Petersburg (UFSP). McEachern and Hastings gathered microplastic specimins throughout Tampa Bay, and came to a startling conclusion.

After calculating the size of Florida’s largest estuary, both scientists estimated that 4 billion microplastic pieces litter Tampa Bay’s water, and up 3 trillion cover its sea floor. The sources of these microplastics could be anything, from fishing nets, to plastic bags, plastic straws, and food packaging. 

How Microplastics Hurt Tampa Bay

What does this colossal amount of microplastics mean for Tampa Bay’s ecosystem? UFSP researchers explain that fish and shellfish eat these plankton-sized microplastics, and then become food for marine animals. Microplastics then make their way up the food chain, and end up in seafood that people eat. We at OkStraw know how important a healthly marine environment is for everyone, as we are based in a coastal city. 

Will this microplastic discovery convince cities in Tampa Bay to ban single-use plastics like straws, foodware and bags? Maybe, because other cities like Orlando, Miami Beach and Key West already passed bans. This is a wakeup call for cities like Tampa and St. Petersburg to ban single-use plastics, and heal Tampa Bay.

Marine animals like Sea Turtles are a high risk from plastic waste

For a Plastic-Free Florida

At OkStraw, we’re sadly familiar with microplastics saturating the environment, and Tampa Bay is the latest casualty. We need to rid the world of plastic waste, but this won’t be an easy fight. Plastic straws are just one type of plastic waste, but ditching them for paper straws is a no brainer. Plastic straws are almost impossible to recycle, they break down into microplastics, and they kill marine animals. 

We at OkStraw wage our battle against environmentally destructive plastic straws with our industry-leading paper straws. With unmatched longevity and toughness for any drink from bubble tea to slushies, OkStraw Paper Straws are made for Florida. This weekend, OkStraw will be at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show in Orlando. Stop by and meet us, help make the Sunshine State  plastic free, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!


California Aims to End Single Use-Plastics by 2030

This week, lawmakers in Sacramento are considering three bills that would effectively end single-use plastics within the next decade. These bills would require all single-use plastic foodware and packaging sold in California be recyclable, or compostable by Jan. 1 2030. The bills would also require a 75 percent reduction in waste from single-use packaging.


Under the bill, all single-use foodware including plates, takeout containers, cutlery, cups and straws will need to be recyclable or compostable. Products made from polystyrene and plastic-coated plastic like milk containers will be banned, unless companies make them recyclable. If passed, these California single-use plastic laws will be the strictest of their type in the country. California state legislators have until the end of this week to vote these bills into law, or else they come up for voting next year.

We don’t just want single-use plastics laws, we desperately need them

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch will keep growing bigger and bigger each day, unless we make serious changes

No More Single-Use Plastics

Most of us know how bad single-use plastics are for the environment, but the statistics still shock us at OkStraw Paper Straws. Half of all plastic on Earth is less than 13 years old, and in the U.S. alone, only 9 percent of it sold gets recycled. What’s worse, 13 million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year. This plastic kills marine animals, and it’s getting worse. A recent study found that by 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish.


These numbers show that we don’t just want single-use plastics laws, we desperately need them. The problem, however, is that the infrastructure to recycle all plastics isn’t there yet, and plastics companies won’t make this step unless the law requires them to do so. At California-based OkStraw Paper Straws, however, we took the initiative, left single-use plastics in the past, where they should be. 


At OkStraw Paper Straws, we aren’t worried, because the future without single-use plastics is already here.

Supporters and Opponents

The two main legislators behind these bills are Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez from San Diego, and state Senator Ben Allen from Santa Monica. California’s major environmental groups support the bills, including the Sierra Club, Audubon California, and Oceana. Cities like Los Angeles and San Diego (OkStraw’s hometown) are also throwing in their endorsements, and restricted single-use plastics themselves.  


California’s proposed single-use plastics laws have a number of opponents however, including the California Chamber of Commerce, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. These groups say California’s single-use plastics laws will will be too costly, and even make modern products like toothpaste illegal. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we aren’t worried, because the future without single-use plastics is already here.


While some companies kick and scream about a future beyond single-use plastic, we at OkStraw Paper Straws are already there. 

Paper Straws for California

OkStraw solves the plastic straw problem by making paper straws for today. Our Bendy Paper Straws are ADA compliant, and our Boba Tea Paper Straws offer uncompromised strength and durability. Complying with California’s single-use plastics laws isn’t rocket science, it’s paper science! OkStraw shows that paper is a practical alternative to plastic for single-use foodware like cups, straws, plates and takeout containers.

Yes, paper doesn’t work as well for some products, but that’s why compostable PLA-based plastics are there. While PLA plastics aren’t as biodegradable as paper, they are far better than fossil fuel-based plastics. So California’s single-use plastics laws won’t be the end of the world, in fact they will help save the world. While some companies kick and scream about a future beyond single-use plastic, we at OkStraw Paper Straws are already there. 

OkStraw Paper Straws featured on

We are excited that OkStraw Paper Straws is one of the featured paper straw companies in this great article from! Author of the article, Seth Stevenson, dropped by our San Diego warehouse in late August to discuss our role in the paper straw industry and how our products are disrupting the single-use plastic straw market. 

Check out the full SLATE ARTICLE here.

Straw Wars

The fall of plastic, the rise of paper, and the gold rush at the center of 2019’s unlikeliest cultural battle.



“…That’s still not enough to keep up with the gush of orders from restaurants scrambling to comply with new straw laws and norms. A bunch of opportunistic entrepreneurs have leapt in to grab the overflow business.

Among these entrepreneurs is 33-year-old Brent Ohlendorf, the chief operating officer of OK Straw, which launched last year. OK makes its paper straws in China, but, says Ohlendorf, these are premium straws constructed with top-shelf, Food and Drug Administration–approved papers and glues. When customers want to contact a rep, they needn’t send an email to a Mandarin speaker on the other side of the world because—as I discovered when I first called the company’s main number— they can get Ohlendorf, picking up with a cheery greeting, on the phone in California. ‘Service as strong as the straw’ is his motto. The business model is Chinese manufacturing costs, American imprimatur.

A few OkStraw Team Members: Brent Ohlendorf, Edward Nickerson, and Jackson Jiang

Check out our Sea Animal Paper Straws

Ohlendorf’s partner is a 54-year-old Chinese man named Jiang Jingchun who’d previously made most of his money exporting silica. They met because Jiang owns a house in the San Diego suburbs next door to Ohlendorf’s cousin. In the spring of last year, sensing that legislation against plastic straws was gathering momentum, they hatched a plan. They quickly established a 30-employee paper straw factory in southern China. Then they opened a distribution center, about the size of a two-car garage, in a light industrial park in northern San Diego. When I visited, it was just Ohlendorf, Jiang, Jiang’s 23-year-old son Jackson (who referenced the turtle video and called it ‘really emotional’), and two other employees. This was the sum of their U.S. workforce. All five men were wearing matching green OK Straw T-shirts.

As we discussed the ins and outs of food-grade materials and wholesale restaurant supply, the OK Straw team pressed some of its paper straw products into my hands. There was the top-of-the-line, four-ply “steakhouse” straw they consider their flagship. (Older-generation Chinese paper straws were two-ply, and even good paper straws are often only three-ply.) There was their fast-selling boba tea straw, with a wide mouth for sucking up tapioca pearls and a pointy tip for stabbing through cup lids. (Ohlendorf says the plentiful boba tea shops in San Francisco got desperate when that city’s ban took effect in July, as there were few existing nonplastic alternatives that met boba specs.) They also had an articulated paper straw that can bend 180 degrees. They view this one as a natural for attaching to the backs of juice boxes. All these were developed within the past 12 months, in a rush to identify customer needs.

Boba Paper Straws

Bendable Paper Straws

“His campaign says paper straws don’t work, but his hotel is buying them”

Ohlendorf couldn’t help but chuckle when he saw news reports about the Trump campaign’s plastic straw gambit. First, there was the absurd price: $15 for a 10-pack, or $1.50 a straw. OK will sell you straws for under a penny per if you buy in bulk. But even more comical to Ohlendorf was the fact that OK has provided paper straws to the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. ‘His campaign says paper straws don’t work, but his hotel is buying them,’ Ohlendorf said. He added that the Trump hotel is late on its payment…”

-Seth Stevenson

OkStraw and Trump Hotel

OkStraw Paper Straws at the 2019 Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show

We’ll be at the Florida Restaurant Show

OkStraw Paper Straws is excited to announce we will be exhibiting at the 2019 Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show, from September 15-19. The Show will be at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando. OkStraw Paper Straws will be at Booth 2036, at Coffee Fest Marketplace section

Come meet us, and try our premium, unmatched strength paper straws. Florida’s restaurant and hospitality industry is worth 114 billion dollars, with 1.4 million employees. OkStraw Paper Straws can’t wait to meet the folks from Florida’s robust, innovative and diverse industry.

4-Ply Action for Orlando

OkStraw will present our latest line of high strength, versatile paper straws. We will have our 4-ply boba and bubble tea paper straws. Boba Tea Paper Straws need to be strong enough to pierce covers on cups, but wide enough for the pearls to pass through. OkStraw 4-ply Boba Tea Paper Straws breeze past these needs, and are good for at least 5 hours in your drink. 

Slushies are a Florida favorite, and OkStraw has you covered for your paper straw needs. Our 4-ply paper spoon straws offer unrivaled performance for your slushee, and last at least 5 hours. On top of our new 4-ply Boba Tea and Spoon paper straws, OkStraw will present our Bendy Paper Straws. They’re ADA-compliant, and feature our 4-ply technology and 5-hour longevity. OkStraw Bendy Paper Straws are truly a game changer for people with disability needs.

Paper Straws for the Sunshine State

All OkStraw Paper Straws are certified compostable, and we only use organic food grade paper, glue and colors. Our paper straws contain no plastic or wax coatings, chemical strengtheners or harmful dyes. All OkStraw Paper Straws are available in custom print, so there will always be a straw for your business.

OkStraw paper straws are compliant with Orlando’s new ban on plastic straws in theme parks, as well as bans in Key West, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Coral Gables, Hallendale Beach and Miami Beach. Paper straw demand in Florida is hot, and OkStraw is here for your restaurant and hospitality supply needs.  

Drop by Booth 2036

So when you’re at the 2019 Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show, drop by and meet us at OkStraw Paper Straws. With more plastic straw bans are rolling out in Florida, the forecast shows hot and sunny market for paper straws. 

Now’s a better time than ever to say no to plastic straws, and set a new sustainable industry standard for Florida. With premium quality paper straws at unmatched price points, you won’t find a better brand than OkStraw. So get ready for the show, Florida, come visit OkStraw, and join the Cause for Paper Straws!

Request Information Regarding OkStraw Paper Straws at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show


Kamala Harris Supports Banning Plastic Straws

The other night, a CNN host ask California Senator Kamala Harris whether she would ban plastic straws. Senator Harris answered:      “I think we should”. As an alternative, Harris supported switching to paper straws, but her she didn’t think paper straws were strong enough. Senator Harris argued that we we need more innovation and incentive for companies to make better paper straws.

Fret not, Senator Harris, because better paper straws already exist, and are here to end plastic straws. OkStraw makes paper straws with unbeatable performance, for any drink imaginable. Thanks to innovations from OkStraw Paper Straws, we’re ready to usher in paper straws for a Senator Harris’ plastic-free America.

Plastic straw cause immense damage to marine animals

Kamala Harris on Plastic Straws

The plastic straw question came to Kamala Harris during a CNN-hosted town hall meeting on September 4th. Audience member Cassandra Valent asked Senator Harris what she would do as president to reduce plastic waste. Harris answered by pointing specifically to plastic water bottles, plastic straws and plastic bags. When CNN Host Erin Burnett asked Kamala Harris whether she supported a plastic straw ban, Harris said she did.

Additionally, Senator Harris brought up sustainable alternatives to plastic straws, namely paper straws. We at OkStraw are excited to hear Kamala Harris bring up the plastic straws in the presidential race, and name paper straws as real solutions. Senator Harris’ remarks on plastic straws show this isn’t just a West or East Coast issue, it’s an American issue.

Senator Harris on Weak Paper Straws

Although Kamala Harris wants to see paper straws replace plastic straws, she brought up problems she had with paper straws. Senator Harris said she found it hard to drink out of plastic straws, because they broke before she could finish her drink. For that reason, Senator Harris wants to see companies make better, longer lasting paper straws.

OkStraw understands this frustration Kamala Harris feels, and it’s because paper straw companies cut corners. Many paper straw companies cut corners by making straws out of cardboard, or skimping on layers. These cardboard and thin straws quickly go soggy, and just don’t last long enough. Subpar paper straws turn people away, and do the entire industry a disservice. OkStraw knows first impressions make all the difference, and Senator Harris will be astounded by our paper straws.

Poorly made paper straws ruin your drink, and your experience

OkStraw Paper Straws for Harris’ New America

Kamala Harris wants to see better paper straws, and that’s where OkStraw comes in. Based in Senator Harris’ home state, OkStraw makes the toughest, longest lasting paper straws on the market. We use organic paper, glue and coloring to make a straw that lasts hours in your drink, but harmlessly composts

OkStraw’s innovative manufacturing processes mean we make paper straws for any drink imaginable. Angle tipped boba tea paper straws? We’ve got you. Paper spoon straws for slushies? Ditto. ADA-compliant paper bendy straws? Of course! Show us your design or logo, and we’ll print it. Needless to say, OkStraw has all the innovation Kamala Harris wants to see from paper straws. So Senator Harris, please keep spreading your message, and encourage more Americans to join the Cause for Paper Straws.

OkStraw Paper Straws Teams Up with Environmental Group BEAT

What do environmental groups and paper straws have in common? Both do their part to keep our oceans free from plastic waste. That’s why OkStraw Paper Straws is proud to announce that we’re teaming up with BEAT. Brunswick Environmental Action Team (BEAT) is based out of North Carolina, and works to keep Brunswick County a beautiful place.

As beachgoing San Diego natives, we at OkStraw Paper Straws know how important environmental groups are. Beaches and oceans free from plastic waste benefit everyone, but people need to protect them. When the beach is your home, you need to make it a clean and safe place to live. Thanks to the BEAT’s work, more Brunswick County residents are fight for healthier beaches and lands. 

About BEAT

Located on North Carolina’s southern coast, Brunswick County boasts stunning beaches and natural land preserves. A group of Brunswick locals wanted to protect these places, and founded the first BEAT in 1996. The original BEAT founders eventually retired and passed away, though, and BEAT went into hiatus. In 2017, however, former members of a local environmental group got together, and started BEAT back up. Since then, BEAT is going stronger than ever.

The environment is first priority for BEAT, not partisanship. BEAT hosts board meetings that anyone can attend, and be part of the discussion. Educating people about the local environment and protecting is the mission at BEAT, and we at OkStraw Paper Straws value this commitment. OkStraw works to fight plastic waste by taking harmful plastic straws out of the equation, and protect marine animals.

BEAT and OkStraw: Our Shared Goals

Because Brunswick County is on the Atlantic Ocean, protecting marine life is paramount for BEAT. The environmental group opposes offshore oil drilling and seismic testing, as both hurt marine animals. BEAT also opposes single-use plastic bags, and we at OkStraw Paper Straws oppose them as well. Plastic pollution of any kind hurts marine animals, and OkStraw does its part to take cut out plastic straws. OkStraw and BEAT both come together in our shared goal of a world free from plastic waste, and clean place to live.

Environmental groups like BEAT remind us at OkStraw why we never take shortcuts to protect the ocean. OkStraw only uses compostable and organic paper, glues and food dyes, and no chemicals, waxes or plastics. If you want to protect the environment, then you need to be true to yourself, and never make compromises

Beat Out Plastic Waste

Thanks to environmental groups like BEAT, people are more empowered to protect the planet. Groups like BEAT raise awareness about issues like plastic waste, and empower everyday people to make sustainable changes. Even small changes like switching from plastic straws to paper straws go a long way to cutting out harmful waste. OkStraw Paper Straws looks forward to BEAT’s future, and their work to keep Brunswick County a beautiful place to live. Thanks to environmental groups like BEAT, more people are ditching plastic, and are joining the Cause for Paper Straws.