If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we need to appreciate the world and environment around us even more so than ever before. We need to not only help create a change, but need products we can purchase that are designed to inspire a sustainable future!

Enter in The Straw, one of the latest and most genius innovations in drinking and getting rid of plastics for good! With The Straw, not only can you bring your own straw with you wherever you go, but also one that can easily be cleaned and not touched by anyone else, but you!

Behind The Straw and this incredible idea/product is Bert Balas. While he may not live here in New York, he lives close enough in our neighbors to the North via Toronto, Canada.

We spoke with Bert (while he sipped back some drinks with his straws) to find out more about himself and how we can get our own hands on some for when we can finally get back out to restaurants and beverage drinking life locally…

Hi Bert! From property investment to construction to owning a stock broker firm…. When did you decide that you wanted to create The Straw and get into this type of business? 

About a year and a half ago, when we first heard the buzz of single-use plastic straws being banned. The proposed transition of going back 60 years to paper straws did not make any sense, it is still single-use! After researching reusable straws available on the market, nothing was portable, versatile, and easy to clean. There was room for improvement! After sketching a few designs and some market research, a new innovative straw started coming to life.

Why is the message behind The Straw and being able to reuse your straw / not waste plastic so important to you?

Plastic waste is just one part of a much bigger issue. We aim to help move away from being a throw away society. Single-use products are unnecessary most of the time and require a lot of resources and energy to manufacture, package and transport regularly. The Straw is designed to inspire a sustainable future as a reusable product. Together we can clean up this planet, one step at a time. With climate change and environmental impacts of garbage, it’s important we give the next generations a fighting chance.

The Straw is made of recyclable materials and rustproof 304 grade stainless steel. Where do you source these materials from?

After design and prototyping was complete in Canada. My close friend and partner of 15 years began manufacturing in China. With a trusted partner on site, we are able to have direct quality control of all materials, manufacturing and assembly. All manufacturing is done in Shenzhen, home of some of the biggest tech companies in the world.

What sets your reusable straws apart from others on the market?

The Straw has been carefully constructed to compliment any user with a sleek, smart design. It is compact, portable and versatile, with four different lengths. Best of all, it comes in a watertight case! This allows the user to add a little water to the case before leaving home for a quick rinse on-the-go!

With COVID-19, people are more aware of the environment, the planet and germs (such as going into a restaurant and using whatever items they give you that have been touched by who knows who). Why is The Straw a much needed item right now for people to have with them at all times?

This is a great point! When you use The Straw, it is 100% personal! No one else ever touches it. With the ability to give it a quick rinse inside the case anywhere you go, there is no need to go into a public restroom for running water or keep a sticky straw in your pocket until you go back home. The Straw also keeps your lips from contacting the outer edge of the glass, that has been touched by who knows who. Like you had mentioned. This is the way of the future! 

As a successful business owner in many different industries, what is your advice to others wanting to start their own business in today’s society?

Perseverance is paramount! Never give up! When you come up with a good idea, you must be willing to put in the time and effort in order to bring it to life. Stay committed and the fruits of your labour will come! Being self employed is very rewarding, but it is not a 9-5 job; especially in the early stages of development. Work hard, do your research and always be willing to learn! It’s never too late to learn something new! 

How can us New Yorkers get our hands on The Straw?

Great question! Get your straw online at www.thestraw.ca and for the next 48 hours we have a special offer for The Levity Ball readers. A 15% discount on your entire order using the code: LEVITYBALL at checkout. All orders over $45 ship free to Canada and the United States!

And final question: What do you want The Straw to be remembered for?

The Straw should be remembered as a personal, everyday essential item. This is a sophisticated reusable straw with a quick rinse on-the-go. Designed to inspire a sustainable future!  

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