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Metal straws cut down waste in Valdosta

As the Metal Straw Movement sweeps the nation in an effort to reduce plastic waste, many companies are joining in. Now, Red Owl Coffee Company is one of them.

Red Owl is a local coffee shop that began its story in Valdosta in 2017. Since then, Red Owl has made its mission to provide a sense of home to customers throughout their day. Reusable metal straws, as well as reusable cups, are the most recent items offered to customers to achieve that goal.

“I think [the metal straws] are a great choice for the environment,” Nadine Leggett, a Red Owl barista, said. “It feels like a small thing we can do as a company, but with the [number] of straws we give out a day, it has a big enough impact to be beneficial.”

Lately, the use and environmental impact of plastic straws and single-use plastic has been a hot topic. Many companies and businesses are taking this into consideration and offering more environmentally friendly options for their customers.  

But Red Owl isn’t the first in Valdosta to ditch the plastic straw. Starbucks recently introduced its new no-straw lids, while Mellow Mushroom uses paper straws in its restaurants.

“The Metal Straw Movement cuts down our plastic waste,”  William Paulo, Red Owl owner, said. “We are trying to expand to completely compostable cups, lids and plasticware. Straws are the easiest cut out, so we started there.”

So far, the straws have received positive feedback from customers. Red Owl’s Northside Drive location sold out of the first batch of straws within the first month of introducing them.

“I think the reusable straws are a great idea,” said Autumn Veal, a Red Owl customer and sophomore at VSU. “Lately I’ve become more interested in reducing my plastic waste and carbon footprint, so when places, like Red Owl, that I go to on the regular make it accessible for me to do my part, I’m all for it.”

Red Owl currently features its reusable straws, as well as its reusable cups, on sale at all locations. The straws retail for $3 per straw, and the cups retail for $10.

“Here at Red Owl, we want to use this opportunity to be more than just a coffee shop,” Leggett said.

Written by Josh Wells, Independent Writer. Photo Courtesy of Pexel.

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