For long-time friends Andee Argon and Meryl Ligunas, plastic straws in their drinks were not only unnecessary, but also wasteful. So they began carrying around reusable metal straws, and would whip them out each time they ordered a drink. But metal straws conduct heat and cold, and they found that this led to a less than pleasant drinking experience.
“We frowned upon the idea of our drinks in restaurants being served with plastic straws. We thought we could give reusable straws to our friends and family, but we figured that it wasn’t the most practical option,” said Meryl. They also realized that simply giving the straws out as presents would not be enough. Instead of giving straws as presents, they felt it would be better if their families and friends understood why they need to reject single-use plastic.
This insight sparked their work on their passion project: Remind PH, which began with their flagship product, bamboo straws. Reusable and sustainable, the straws are handcrafted by artisans from unprocessed stalks of organically grown bamboos.
While metal and glass straws are all the rage lately, these still leave carbon footprints (meaning it takes decades for them to decompose). And just like plastic, the process of making these straws releases harmful chemicals. But bamboo, unlike metal, is biodegradable and renewable as it is the fastest growing plant in the world. It can be re-harvested and is not harmful to the environment. Each of Andee and Meryl’s bamboo straws comes with a 12-inch canvas drawstring container, sewn by a partner Persons With Disabilities (PWD) community, and in November 2017, the two started selling their straws.
While they haven’t fully transitioned into practicing the “zero waste lifestyle” yet, the two try to produce less waste. Meryl said that aside from reusable straws, they also bring their own utensils, tumblers, and eco-bags when they go shopping.
“You can start with small steps like bringing around a foldable eco bag when you go shopping for clothes and groceries. Begin with the big picture in mind—it’s about wanting to practice sustainability and not adding to dump sites and landfill. More than just an Instagram story or a cool photo op, you have to do it for all the right reasons,” Meryl said.