After watching many wildlife programmes that highlighted the issue of plastic soup and disposables, Jonathan Mallon and his wife Hazel Mallon-Kelly launched their paper straw company, Straight Up Straws, this past February.
Seeking a way to help clear the “masses of rubbish” in the environment – much of which is excess plastic that ends up in the oceans and creates tremendous problem for sea life – the Mallons came up with a way to take matters into their own hands.
Jonathan Mallon’s idea for Straight Up Straws was born after watching a BBC business program about a company that started a paper straws factory, he says. The initial idea was to buy the machines themselves, but when it became clear that it would be cost prohibitive, the Mallons decided to start an eco-friendly wholesale business.
Straight Up Straws came online this past February, and the site supplies wholesale paper and organic straws, many of which are used for the catering and dining industry within the Netherlands. The company also works with clients abroad and offers a wide range of product options. “We supply paper straws in a number of diameters, lengths and, of course, colours, starting from boxes of 250 pieces to pallet loads”, Mallon says. The site sells two types of biodegradable straws that are made from starch: Flex Neck and Thermo 95°C.
Business has been booming, which the Mallons attribute to their prices. Straight Up Straws competes directly with well-known wholesalers and offers a regular customer discount for larger orders: 1,000 units cost between 18 and 34 euros. Even though organic straws are still more expensive than plastic straws, Mallon says that more and more customers seem to be recognizing that you cannot put a price on having a cleaner planet.
Although the company is only a few months old, interest in their products is seeing steady growth: their clients include several bars, cafes and restaurants in and around Groningen, such as O’Ceallaighs Irish Pub, their very first customers. Mallon says that SPOT (formerly De Ooosterpoort music venue) is their latest big client, and Coffee Company also serves their caffeinated beverages with the Mallons’ straws. Dining establishments and bars in Assen, Veendam, and Winschoten have also started buying from Straight Up Straws.
In addition to their webshop, the Mallons sell their environmentally-friendly products at Groningen beverage warehouse De Drankengilde in Groningen. Mallon believes the company’s growing regional presence is due to the local nature of their business: “Our straws are ecologically and quality certified in Europe, not just cheap imports,” says Mallon.