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Holy City Straw Co.: An eco-friendly alternative to plastic

Holy City Straw Co.: An eco-friendly alternative to plastic
April 2020

The straws made from wheat stems are biodegradable

Wheat Straws

While playing the local bar scene with his rock and blues band, Tom Crowley and the Speakers, the full-time musician noticed the transition from plastic straws. Knowing the county’s ban on single-use plastics would go into effect January 1, he started testing alternatives. He discovered a wheat straw that, he believes, offers a superior drinking experience to paper options that don’t seem to hold up and plant-based compostable plastic varieties, which require industrial composting.

The self-described “peace-loving hippy” launched Holy City Straw Co. in January, offering tall and cocktail lengths and working to ensure they’re as wide as possible. The straws don’t require manufacturing; they’re cut from wheat stems and sterilized without using chemicals. They are biodegradable, so they don’t pile up in landfills or recycling centers. And because they are made from the stem, which is separate from the seed, they are gluten-free.

In less than a year, Crowley and his two business partners have signed up local restaurants such as Home Team BBQ, Dunleavy’s Pub, Dockery’s, Fuji, Rutledge Cab Co., and Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar. Feedback has been positive. “No one can stand the paper straws,” Crowley says. “Switching them over from paper is easy.”

The partners are focusing their wholesale efforts on the eight states that have banned single-use plastics as well as coastal communities. These days when Crowley’s band plays a show, he takes some Holy City Straws with him. “At the end of my gig, I’m like, ‘You wanna check something out?’”