What kind of straw person are you? Are you a steel straw kind of person? Or do prefer something a little more pliable, like paper? Whatever your jam, Deep Blue Straws has you got you covered and you can be sipping on a sangria sustainably in 2-14 days (that’s their worldwide estimated shipping time btw).
Like most people, after seeing the viral video of a turtle with a straw stuck in its nose, Jonny and Tom Warner had a hard time stomaching it. But instead of complaining about it in a ‘thoughts and prayers’ kind of way, they took action. Fast forward less than one year and today, Deep Blue Straws are armed and loaded to turn the tide on the plastic pollution currently decimating the world’s oceans. To do this, they’ve developed an arsenal of super chic reusable straws of all kinds all branded with the iconic emblem of a turtle that, while adorable, is meant to remind you of the plight one sustainable sip at a time.
Designed for both consumers and businesses, Deep Blue Straws make environmentally friendly straws in paper (that don’t get soggy midway through your drink), stainless steel, and bamboo – and they’re in the process of rolling out bubble-tea friendly straws. The self-proclaimed eco-warriors (and we’re inclined to agree) want you, as a consumer but also someone who loves a cocktail as much as they do, to feel included and be a part of the brand. We caught up with Jonny who gave us the lowdown on what they do, why they do it, and what to look out for so you can feel like you’re one with their movement, too.
GITNB: So many conscious brands are driven by an ‘aha’ moment that kick-started the passion and fueled the idea. What was that moment for you?
Deep Blue Straws: It was actually something both Tom and I had thought about for a while but with our hectic work schedules hadn’t managed to sit down and discuss in detail. Then, back in June 2018 after Tom had been shocked by the number of plastic straws being used at a particular bar, we decided it was time to act. After several months planning, sourcing and testing we were ready to go and launched in Hong Kong in November 2018 and in the UK January 2019.
And the logo? Why did you choose a turtle to lead your pack?
For us, like many others, the turtle became synonymous with the plastic pollution problem following the truly awful video that surfaced. After that, it was a no brainer for us that we wanted to associate ourselves with the fight to protect these (and other) beautiful creatures.
The video was indeed powerful and definitely a gateway to sustainability for the masses. Suddenly, everyone cared! Has that momentum slowed or is the passion contagious?
I do believe it has continued, however, we would, of course, like to see greater momentum and adoption of other eco-friendly products. How ironic and infuriating to see a paper straw in a giant plastic cup. Straws are a nice, easy switch for consumers and businesses and now we can use this to drive wider adoption of other products.
There are so many brands pushing reusable straws these days. Competition is healthy. How does Deep Blue Straws shine among them?
Firstly, we are really proud of the quality of our products and feedback has been really positive. Some people are truly surprised about how long-lasting the paper straws are compared to others they have used. Secondly, we are (as far as I can tell) one of the very few companies who offer a full range of paper, bamboo and stainless steel straws to retail and wholesale markets. Finally, we are committed to supporting relevant charities and commit a significant portion of our revenues to our partners, who include WWF, Plastic Oceans UK and Surfers Against Sewage.
When you initially started conceptualizing the brand, was there a certain industry or type of person you that you had in mind? And what’s the message you’re trying to get out to your audience?
Anybody! We want people to adopt eco-friendly straws (and other products!) into their lives wherever possible. All we want people to know and remember is that by making these small and simple shifts in their daily lives, the collective impact can be truly massive.
So many straws! You’re making ocean-friendly paper straws, bamboo straws and stainless steel straws. Other than personal preference, are there any pros and cons to each kind? How does one choose?
I love the turtle imagery we have on our paper straws, but for me, like many others, I love our rainbow straws best. The bamboo straws look great are naturally one of the most eco-friendly products in the range, but you have to remember to look after them and clean them properly.
Everyone loves bubble tea but so many people have eased on the addiction because of the whole straw issue (ok, maybe because of the copious amounts of sugar too). Glad to see that you’re offering a fix to that but have you managed to get any tea shops onboard?
They are a very new product in our range so our conversations are at the early stages. Not just in Hong Kong either, we are currently in talks with a business in New Zealand…watch this space.
What’s kind of feedback are you getting from people? Has there been any resistance that you’ve faced and how did you tackle it?
Honestly, there has been hardly any resistance to reusable straws; people appreciate the positive impact they have. Unfortunately, however, paper straws have gained a bit of a bad reputation (thanks McDonalds…) so we are trying to emphasize to people that if you have the right product, they don’t go soggy and limp in a matter of seconds and are a great way to sip sustainably.
Tell us one super cool thing that you’re doing that people might not know about Deep Blue Straws?
As mentioned above, people may not be aware of our collaboration with charities whom we support in a number of ways, be that financial or otherwise. It doesn’t stop at environmental charities either, we are proud to support the LGBTQ+ community and 10% of all sales of our rainbow straws will be donated to LGTBQ+ charities. We are looking to find a major partner in this space so please get in touch if you would like to be involved.
We hope changing the world doesn’t stop here. What are you thinking is the next step?
We have a number of ways in which we are looking to grow our business as well as our collaborations and partnerships. There will be new products added to the range very soon so make sure you check out the website. We are also looking to broaden our range beyond straws and aim to hopefully become a truly one-stop-shop for all your environmentally friendly product needs.
What #LittleGreenSteps do you take in your everyday life that you think other people should also adopt?
Well, I always make sure I have my Deep Blue Straw with me! Haha. For me it has centred around the little adjustments I can make at home; soap instead of shower gel in massive plastic bottles, beeswax wraps instead of cling film and kitchen-roll made from recycled paper, for example, are just a handful of super easy switches we can all make.