Published on: September 17, 2019
by Michael Sansolo
It may be hard to remember, but not that long ago straws held a benign position in the national debate, if they held any position at all. For the most part, they only mattered if you needed or wanted one.
These days, straws, especially of the single-use plastic variety, are getting all kinds of attention. Due to the sheer number of them used daily and the problems they are blamed with helping to create, plastic straws have become central to the environmental and political debate. Which is why I want to share with you the Final Straw, a product that I have a feeling may pop on shelves everywhere.
About a year ago, my wife and I were in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and everywhere we went we saw signs in restaurants explaining they were no longer offering straws to help the island’s beloved sea turtles.
Since then, I’ve heard of the problem almost everywhere, including many places where sea turtles have clearly never been. As one retailer told me, he is getting letters from school children asking that he eliminate plastic straws and, as he added, school children have a way of influencing parents who do all the purchasing.
It’s even become a political issue, with the President’s re-election campaign now selling plastic straws and belittling paper substitutes as some kind of liberal hoax. Politics now sucks in a whole new way.
Before that trip to Hilton Head, I never would’ve imagined the need for such a product, but now I want to tell you about the Final Straw, which I think is the best reusable straw on the market. My wife, moved by the sea turtle argument from Hilton Head, had been looking for the past two years for a reusable straw that she could both easily clean and easily carry in her purse. The Final Straw does both.
The metallic straw comes in a little “sexy” case (according to the manufacturer). You open the case and coax out the straw in four connected pieces. Then, faster than you can say a Harry Potter spell; the straw connects itself into a useful item. Even the little cleaning brush sits inside the case and telescopes out to become serviceable.
The entire package (made of recycled paper, rest assured) smacks of tongue-in-cheek messaging that applauds the user for making such a wise purchase without questioning the limited impact of swearing off single-use straws or debating the environmental impact of the need to continually wash the new item.
Frankly, I think it’s great. It’s cool, clever, easily becomes a conversation piece and, who knows, could become something big. (No, I haven’t invested in it, but I’d consider it.)
Here’s why I think the Final Straw and others like it will become something big. Scoff if you disagree, but the environment and sustainability are huge issues especially for a food industry that so heavily relies (and often with good reason) on plastic packaging. We’re going to need simple areas to make changes where food safety and security aren’t a concern.
Reusable straws could be such an area and could help us have a new and important conversation with shoppers who really would welcome such a thing. By this point we shouldn’t need reminders that necessity can be both the mother of invention and and generator of sales growth.
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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