My Glass Sipper: A Tale of My Last Plastic Straw
As unconventional as it may be, this month I crossed a “bucket list” item off my list. Beauty Heroes delivered glass straws to our members around the world. Ever since the start of this company, I’ve imagined the day I would deliver a simple tool that would make it easier to use less and love more. I was inspired to create this offering because of a stranger I met four years ago in Santa Cruz. Here’s how she changed my life, and the life of countless others.
Four years ago, I went on a women’s retreat in the Santa Cruz mountains with about thirty women from various walks of life. The spiritual retreat center was not fancy at all, but the vegan food was delicious, the beds were comfortable and the grounds were incredible. My kind of luxury. I met Jackie Nunez, founder of The Last Plastic Straw. She was an avid kayaker who worked at a restaurant in Santa Cruz and had become passionate about ending the consumption of plastic straws. I recall how humble she was about her mission. It was so clear and so simple: she wanted to be the catalyst for people to use their last plastic straw. At the end of the weekend, Jackie gave me a stainless steel straw. It was the first time I had ever seen one. My only encounter with an alternative straw was years earlier when a progressive restaurant in San Francisco served me a paper straw with my Bloody Mary, and I remember very well that it didn’t function well, folding and unraveling before I could finish half my drink. Jackie was not handing out straws to everyone, presumably because that would be too expensive, but she gave one to me, and told me where I could buy more. I thanked her and promised I would use it, and I would share her mission and more stainless steel straws with others.
I carried this stainless steel straw in my purse – at first on its own without a cover and eventually in a zip loc bag. I would wash it regularly. Within the first few months of carrying my new straw, I discovered 3 things.
- It was hard to remember to ask upon ordering my drink to not include a straw. I forgot regularly and my drink was delivered with straw, which was missing the point.
- Even if I requested ‘no straw’, I often got one anyway. It was just habit to bring a straw, and my server often didn’t understand the importance and forgot.
- I learned to carry more than one straw in my purse, because if I was with a friend or family member, they wanted to skip the straw as well, so why not come prepared for that. So I ordered a package of stainless steel straws, carried them in my purse and gave them away to my friends, always with Jackie in mind.
As I got used to using my stainless steel straw, I realized I really enjoyed sipping my drinks in this new fashion. It felt so cool and substantial. I started drinking through a straw a lot more often than I did before. Then, after I got used to carrying my straw around, I decided to buy a little pack of wooden utensils and carry those around with me in my purse. Whenever I would go out for a salad or frozen yogurt, I would pull out my wooden utensils. Something really started to shift for me when I started doing all of this, as eating with wooden utensils and drinking from my stainless steel straw were so much more comfortable and enjoyable than eating and drinking through plastic. I found myself not necessarily using them because they were better for the environment, but because I really enjoyed the experience of using them.
You know the saying “How you do one thing is how you do everything”? Well, this experience with my new straw and utensils mirrors my experience with natural beauty. Long ago, when I started using clean, natural beauty products, I did so because they were free from harmful ingredients. And then, that became less of the focus, because I realized that they performed better and I liked the experience of using them so much more than conventional beauty products.
And then, I discovered glass straws. They may be everywhere now, but about a year ago or so I had never seen one. It was love at first sip. And now I have a collection of various glass straws in my home and office, and always carry a few in my purse.
So what does all this have to do with beauty and Beauty Heroes? Well, this is my last plastic straw story and I made a promise to Jackie that I would share her mission. I haven’t spoken to Jackie since our retreat, but I hope she reads this and knows how much she and the straw inspired me. Second, as a company that values nature and natural beauty, it seems clear that we need to really care about nature if we want to continue to enjoy natural beauty, which I certainly plan on doing. And last, we all need to use every opportunity we can to make the world a better place, for all of us. In America alone, we use 500 million plastic straws A DAY. It’s really hard to fathom that. I can see that the tides are shifting, and hopefully, just as plastic bag usage has been reduced greatly over the last ten years, I hope that plastic straws are on their way out, along with a myriad of other single use plastics. Besides, sipping through glass straws is a small luxury, one that I wanted to share with you.
This month, in celebration of our partnership with Honua Skincare and our mutual commitment to ocean health, we delivered glass straws to every Beauty Heroes subscriber. And, we made our glass straws available in our beauty store, along with custom hemp and cotton straw sleeves and a gorgeously chic utensil case, loaded with a glass straw and durable bamboo utensils. Is making the planet more beautiful a part of my mission? You bet. And I can promise that I’ll continue to take every opportunity to help you use less, live lighter and love more. After all, it’s the little things that add up to less.
Note: Our glass straws, straw sleeves and utensil kits were made by hand in the U.S. by small, independent companies.