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OkStraw Remembers Kobe Bryant

It’s with heart-shattering sadness that we at OkStraw Paper Straws announce the tragic and untimely death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter Gianna, and 7 others in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning, January 26th. This tragedy hit us incredibly hard, and we’re still coming to terms with the loss of Kobe. 


For us millennials, Kobe Bryant was our generation’s Michael Jordan or Kareem Abdul Jabar. Kobe absolutely dominated the court during his 20-year playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, breaking numerous records. At OkStraw Paper Straws, we want to dedicate this article to an icon who inspired passion through perseverance, tragically taken from this life.

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Kobe Bryant’s fateful journey was an otherwise routine trip; he regularly flew by helicopter to avoid Los Angeles’ infamous traffic. All 9 people departed from John Wayne Airport in neighboring Orange County to Burbank Airport, where they were to attend a basketball game at Kobe’s Mamba Sports Academy near Thousand Oaks, west of Los Angeles. 


On board was Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, Orange Coast College basketball coach John Altobelli and his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, Mamba’s assistant basketball coach Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan. Payton, Alyssa and Gianna were all teammates on Mamba’s basketball team that Kobe coached, and were set to play that day. 

During the flight, the helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B, was near Burbank Airport when it flew westward. Before the helicopter could land, it ascended briefly before descending at high speed and crashing into a steep hillside in the suburban city of Calabasas, west of Los Angeles, at 9:47 AM. Tragically, everyone on board the helicopter lost their lives, despite emergency responders’ best efforts. 


While accident investigators have not yet determined the cause, heavy fog that morning and possible engine failure are being considered. Let us recognize the unbelievable pain the families and friends of those 9 souls who lost their lives that flight are experiencing. Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna are survived by wife and mother Vanessa, and their three daughters Natalia, Bianka, and 7 month-old Capri. 

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If there was anyone who fit the description of a real superhero to us at OkStraw, then Kobe was a top contender. Kobe didn’t put on a cape and a mask when he went to work, and he certainly wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider. In fact, Kobe’s superhero prowess on the basketball court came from something that exists in all of us: passion.

For Kobe Bryant, passion in what he did was more than just a word, it was a method for his life. During his high school years, Kobe would show up for practice at 5 AM, while everyone else was still asleep, he played classmates in one-on-one games to 100, and practiced shooting hoops in the dark. Kobe even practiced his moves on court without a basketball, according to Shaquille O’Neal, something that surely raised a few eyebrows.

Injuries rarely slowed Kobe down, thanks to his passion. During the Lakers’ 1999-2000 season, Kobe broke his wrist, but he still showed up to practice with his right arm in a cast, and dribbled and shot with his left instead. No lights, basketball or dominant arm to use? Kobe still found a way to play; passion was his way of life.

Kobe Bryant’s passion didn’t end at the basketball court, he took this way of life and applied it to everything he did. Kobe worked with the Make-A-Wish-Foundation for more than 20 years, personally meeting over 100 children suffering from critical illnesses. In 2012, Kobe helped raise $81 million for cancer research on behalf of Stand Up To Cancer, and the year prior, he and Vanessa founded an organization that helps homeless youths in Los Angeles. 


Kobe’s fame and Kobe’s 2017 animated short film Dear Basketball even won him an Academy Award. While we can’t all be legendary basketball players like Kobe, we can certainly learn a thing or two from him, and make ourselves better people. If we applied that intense passion to our lives at even a tenth of the energy that Kobe lived his, imagine what we could achieve. Kobe taught us that passion doesn’t only need to be a side hobby, it can be an entire way of life.

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From all of us at OkStraw, we would like to give our most sincere condolences to the families of everyone on that fateful helicopter flight. Losing such an iconic person like Kobe Bryant is a horrible punch to the heart, but let’s honor his legacy in the best way we can. 

Let’s fire up this unstoppable juggernaut of passion within ourselves, and strive to do our best, no matter in what it may be. We’re only on this planet for a very short time, and whether or not we all think it’s a one-shot deal, let’s treat it like it is. Whether it be playing basketball,  always do better than necessary. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of those whose lives were cut far too on that flight.

New 2020 Organic Recycling Rules for California

2020 is here, and that means new laws took effect on New Year’s Day. Starting January 1st, the State of California now requires more restaurants to recycle their organic waste. Restaurants producing 2 cubic yards of organic waste weekly will now need to recycle them. California’s limit used to be 4 cubic yards, so the new limit affects more businesses than ever.


Here at OkStraw Paper Straws, we think California’s push for more organic recycling is a necessary move. If we want to fight climate change and sustain food production, then we need organic recycling. So let’s unpack what changes the new law brings, and how it affects your business.

What Exactly is Organic Waste?

Some folks may not know what’s considered “organic waste”, so let’s clear up the confusion. Also called “green waste”, organic waste spans a list of different materials. Organic waste includes uneaten food (organic or non-organic), landscape trimmings like grass, leaves or branches, and compostable paper. 


Compostable paper includes food-soiled paper, and biodegradable paper. Since OkStraw Paper Straws are both compostable and biodegradable, they technically count as organic waste. Because restaurants deal in food, they’ll generate organic waste. Whether it’s an uneaten potato or lettuce stumps, this organic waste needs to be recycled. If your restaurant produces 2 or more cubic yards of organic waste every week, then you need to recycle.

Why Organic Recycling is so Important

So know what counts as organic waste, but why does California care so much about it? California cares because organic recycling helps fight climate change. Organic waste that decomposes in the landfill produces large amounts of methane. Methane is far more aggressive than CO2, so we don’t want large emissions. 

Organic recycling helps capture these methane emissions, and lowers greenhouse gasses. As we at OkStraw Paper Straws know the threat climate change poses to everyone, we think organic recycling is a mandatory step to take.


The other reason why organic recycling is so important is that: recycling. Soil from organic waste is rich in nutrients, which helps farmers grow crops more efficiently. Organic waste is an agricultural goldmine, so why let it rot away in a landfill? Seems like wasted money and potential, right? We think so, which is why we at OkStraw ensured that our paper straws are organically recyclable.

California’s Organic Recycling Goals

This organic recycling law wasn’t the first one the California state legislature passed. In 2014, Governor Brown signed a bill into law, requiring a 50% reduction in organic disposal in 5 years. Five years later, however, California didn’t meet its recycling goal. By mandating organic recycling for more restaurants, California is serious about finally hitting this target.


With more restaurants falling under the new organic recycling law, California is on its way to finally meeting this goal. California allows some exemptions, however. These include places without local organic recyclers, and restaurants without the space for organic recycling containers. Eventually, we at OkStraw Paper Straws want to see ALL organic waste in California get recycled. 


Are Paper Straws Organically Recyclable?

Given this news about changes to California’s organic recycling law, we started thinking. “Are OkStraw paper straws organically recyclable?”. Well looking back, California considers compostable paper with food stains organically recyclable. OkStraw Paper Straws are certainly compostable, and they absorb whatever drink they were in. So it’s safe to say that YES, OkStraw paper straws can go in the organic recycling. 


Not all paper straws are organically recyclable, though. Some paper straws have wax or even plastic linings, so they can’t be organically recycled. Whereas OkStraw organic paper straws have none of these strengtheners added. We only sustainably sourced paper, vegan-safe glues and food safe mineral oils in our paper straws. 


Available in countless sizes, custom prints and in 3 or 4 ply, there’s an OkStraw paper straw for every California restaurant. From ADA-compliant paper bendy straws to bubble tea paper straws, we have them all. So to California restaurants out there, get 2020 in full swing, and join the Cause for Organic Recyclable Paper Straws!

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Bulk Paper Straws

Volume Discounts on All Bulk Paper Straw Orders

*Discounts start with the purchase of 5 or more cases and increase with higher volume orders. Contact sales@okstraw.com or call (866)939-3227 if you are a restaurant group looking to buy paper straws in bulk. 


We are looking for restaurant, bar, and cafe distributors who want to add a premium paper straw to their product line!

Interested in adding OKSTRAW Paper Straws to your line of products? We are happy to get you set up. Please fill out the following form. If you have questions, please send them to sales@okstraw.com or give us a call at 866.939.3227.

We have custom pricing specific for high volume distributors. Please email us about ordering quantities and custom designs.

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Unique Designs Paper Straws

Dozens of Unique Designs, Colors, and Sizes for our Paper Straws

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Boba and Bubble Tea Paper Straws