Kamloops couple's collapsible straw catches eyes of crowdfunders

A Kamloops couple has come up with a new convenient take on the reusable straw that’s proven popular on an online fundraising platform.

Emily and James Price, who called Kamloops home for 20 years before moving to Hawaii in January, began a Kickstarter campaign on July 31 for their environmentally-friendly alternative to the plastic straws.

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After just a week, they’ve already reached their funding goal.

ViableStraw is a patented metal, telescopic straw said to be the first of its kind and was developed by the couple in an effort to produce an easy way for people to choose an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic straws.

“What we wanted to do was make [metal straws] ultra convenient and easy to remember to bring with you everywhere,” Emily Price told KTW.

Their collapsible metal straw is air tight with rounded edges and comes with a metal case that can be hooked to a key chain so that they can be taken anywhere.

collapsible straws

The campaign reached 50 per cent of it’s $10,000 goal in less than 24 hours and 100 per cent as of Monday, Price said.

Funds aren't received unless a campaign reaches 100 per cent of its goal, which is comprised of people either donating to the cause or ordering the product, Price told KTW.

Once the campaign is complete, the couple will send out a survey to all of their backers — currently they have 192 — and place a bulk order with their manufacturer.

The couple have spent the past several months using their savings to develop the straw.

The benefit of the fundraiser, Price said, is the increased exposure that comes with the crowdfunding website.

As of Tuesday, the campaign had 15 more days to go and had raised $12,727.

While Emily, 26, and James, 29, have always strived to use less and keep sustainability in mind while living in B.C., the idea for the straw didn’t come until after they moved to Hawaii, where they were shocked by the amount of plastics they would find washed up on beaches — from straws to bags and even entire car bumpers.

“We started getting involved in things, adopting beaches we would go to frequently with our dogs, learning more about the issue, partaking in some educational stuff at the university here that they would put on for people to learn more about plastic pollution,” Emily said.

She said they began contemplating how to get people to care about the issue and make a change to use less plastic.

The result was a new take on the metal straw with the first of what was many prototypes consisting of rolled up paper.

The couple told KTW they know tackling the straw is a small start as other plastics like bags, cups and containers are also parts of the problem, but they think it’s a good place to start to drive change.

The move to reusable straws is one that has been making headlines, most notably with the coffee giant Starbucks, citing environmental threats to the oceans, moving to ban plastic straws in its stores by 2020.

The company estimates it will eliminate one billion plastic straws per year, which will be replaced with specialized lids that don’t require a straw or paper straws.

After Kickstarter, the Prices plan to reach out to retailers such as Starbucks and McDonalds to license their eco-friendly product. They also hope their hometown of Kamloops will follow suit with other cities like Vancouver, which passed a law banning plastic straws, and Victoria, which recently banned plastic bags.

Price said she and her husband plan to return to live in B.C. in the near future.

© 2018 Kamloops This Week

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