Every year 1.4 billion pounds of plastic ends up in our oceans. We live in a disposable society, where everything was made to be used once and then be thrown away. However across the world human behaviour and societies are making fundamental changes in the use of disposable products. Plastic is one of the greatest offenders in disposable products, and it can be seen very clearly in places around the world.
The story of Bamstraw begins in Bali, Indonesia, where there is stunning nature, a calm and serene atmosphere as well as some of the most hospitable and friendly people you can find. Yet when you go diving there are places where there is more plastic than wildlife in the water, beaches have plastic and other waste wash up, marine wildlife is found daily having ingested plastic and straws are a huge contributor to much of the animal suffering.
Across the island, wild bamboo grows extremely fast. Normally this bamboo would be cut down and thrown into the river, which would sometimes cause floods. The villagers live simple but happy lives, however many struggles economically and cannot always afford to send their children to school or other amenities. Yet the hospitality shown to travelers, tourists, and guests, in general, was better than that of a luxury hotel.
Observing the issue of plastic waste and economic difficulty first hand was what brought on the inspiration for Bamstraw. Over 500 million plastic straws are used and thrown away every day, many of which end up in the ocean. There was a large excess of bamboo which is not only very durable but also has naturally-occurring antimicrobial agents and a need for more jobs in the village. Within a few days, the villagers were producing the first Bamstraw products.
Bamstraw currently employs people from the village of Singakerta in Bali. Through Bamstraw the villagers are offered an opportunity to work part-time for 4-5 hours a week allowing them to earn extra income per month. This extra money allows them to send their children to school since the constitution of Bamstraw 14 children can afford to go to school. We only use discarded surplus bamboo and ensure safe and fair working conditions for the villagers, solving the issue of floods caused by bamboo blockages and providing a sustainable alternative to plastic.