A Michigan woman is hoping to eliminate plastic drinking straws by providing an ultrastrong glass substitute. Daedra Surowiec, of Milford, MI envisioned glass as a way to eliminate some of the millions of plastic drinking straws that end up in landfills annually. She began creating glass drinking straws after taking a class at a local art glass facility.
Glass drinking straws aren’t exactly an easy sell. Prospective buyers are worried that the straw will break while in use. In reality, Surowiec says that of the 10,000 straws her company, Strawesome, produces each year, only about 3% break. The company replaces broken straws at no cost, but Surowiec says that the major culprit behind breakage is impact damage from being dropped.
The straws sold by Strawesome are made from borosilicate glass, a particularly tough glass that’s used in aerospace and other high-stakes applications. Surowiec makes straws in multiple lengths by cutting preformed glass tubing, and smoothing the ends to make them safe for use. She also decorates the straws by adding colors and objects formed from molten glass. She also creates “special edition” straws that are sold as fundraisers. Each straw comes with a carrying case and a cleaning kit.
Strawesome isn’t the only manufacturer in the glass straw game. Surowiec says that when she entered the market in 2009, there was only one other manufacturer of glass straws that she was aware of. Since that time, several other manufacturers have gotten into the glass straw game. Her sales haven’t suffered as a result. In her first year, she says she made about $5,000. Currently, her sales have exceeded the $100,000 mark and she hopes to expand the business further.
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Photo Credit: GlassDharma, via Flickr.com