The Other Straw - Voices of Regen #10: Jamie-Lee Kay
By Jaari Heyes, Photos care of The Other Straw
Living a less wasteful life has always been a deep passion for Jamie and Len. So when a business opportunity arose that had the potential to fulfil their ethical and environmental needs, the couple were determined to take that chance.
‘The Other Straw’ was founded in 2018, with the purpose of replacing plastic straws with reusable bamboo straws. Jamie and Len’s solution for living a more regenerative life has now flourished into an internationally recognised and loved eco-conscious company.
“We’ve sold over 100,000 bamboo straws, replacing close to 48 million plastic straws that would have otherwise polluted the natural environment,” says Jamie.
“Our products encourage people to do simple swaps in their everyday lifestyle. We’re providing that alternative.”
The Other Straw’s main supplier is the hospitality industry. From restaurants to corporate organisations, festivals and events, Jamie says it’s these establishments that are the biggest users of plastic straws.
“If we can get through to these businesses and create a shift in mindset, this could prevent millions of straws from going into landfill.”
What makes The Other Straw so unique and progressive is their ability to produce ethical products that empower their work colleagues and partners. Jamie and Len’s perception of a successful business is one that not only promotes the health of the natural world, but the wellbeing of its farmers and producers.
“We have two farms in Vietnam where all our straws and other bamboo products are harvested. Our farms are run by women, and this has been extremely important to us. We work closely with our employees to ensure they have fair and safe working conditions,” says Jamie.
“The reason we went with bamboo is that it’s sustainable and renewable. Once it’s life as a straw is over, it can be composted and put back into the ground.”
Jamie and Len’s business is now entirely carbon neutral. This means there is a counterbalance of any greenhouse gas emissions that is created by The Other Straw. The pioneering couple are offsetting their emissions and investing in regenerating empty farmlands and restoring forests.
Giving back to the land and being accountable for our environmental impact is something we should all be doing. If you have a business and you’re thinking ‘hmm I really need to do something like The Other Straw’, that’s great, but maybe it's time to stop contemplating? Why not start investigating how you can offset your emissions right now?
Integrating regenerative practices into a business can be difficult, as regeneration itself means more than to conserve, it means to restore and create increasing abundance. Jamie and Len’s eagerness to move beyond sustainability has guided them towards Regeneration Projects’ ‘Regen Roadmap’ experience. The series of six 45-minute business coaching sessions has propelled The Other Straw forward into a new level of work.
“After having those conversations with Matt, we now know how to talk with our suppliers about incorporating more regenerative practices within the farming sector. We love learning new ways to improve and do better,” says Jamie.
“We’re not perfect, but we’re trying our best to keep moving forward. There is definitely movement in regenerative business and it’s only going to grow.”
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Also, FYI an outline of our 'Regen Roadmap' coaching experience for startups and small businesses sits on the Services page of our website.