SWZLE got its start as a Kickstarter campaign back in 2018, when Phil Causgrove, former director of business development for Bucketfeet, approached Ryan Mundy, former NFL star and founder of Techlete Ventures. Inspired by the Seattle initiative to ban all plastic straws, Causgrove and Mundy made a case for environmental change to reduce waste, specifically by reducing single-use plastics. In October 2020, SWZLE was acquired by 4Honor Brands, LLC, an honorable family company founded by honorable people for honorable people. And they're passionate about responsible environmental stewardship, reducing single-use plastics, increasing recycling, and cleaning up our waterways.
Mindful consumers want more than just quality products that align with their values. They’re also looking for brands to commit to environmental stewardship. Companies are finding out fast that when it comes to buying trends, they can’t just greenwash a product. They have to innovate new strategies from start to finish, including when the product reaches its end-of-life. That’s precisely how the new owners of SWZLE feel about combatting plastic pollution and waste, and why they’re committed to making sustainability the new green standard in business.
What’s the Big Deal with One Little Straw?
That’s the problem. It’s not just one straw; it’s about 500 million unrecycled straws headed for the bin every day in the US alone. Each one taking up to 200 years to decompose. And while scientists are hot on the trail of a bacteria that will degrade plastic in our landfills, most plastic is not biodegradable. So, if that straw isn’t secured in a garbage bag or if the bag rips open, it’ll get blown down the street or picked up by a bird. Then once it hits a storm drain, it’s headed straight for our waterways and oceans. Coastal cities indeed cause most ocean plastic pollution (see chart below). But no matter how far inland you live, your straw can still wind up in the ocean.
Source: Our World in Data
When those straws start to break down, they turn into microplastics, posing a considerable threat to endangered and threatened species, such as Loggerhead Sea Turtles and Laysan Albatross (pictured below), leading to an increase in mortality rates. We cringed too while watching the sea turtle have a straw pulled from its nostril. From birds and turtles to whales, more and more marine life is washing ashore because our use of plastic is choking the oceans. Unfortunately, the rate of consumption surpassed the campaign to reduce, reuse and recycle, which means that manufacturers bear the brunt of responsibility.
Sources (Credit): Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Photo by Chris Jordan ©
You, the green consumer, are causing a shift in market trends. More and more people want businesses to be accountable for the whole system from the cradle to the grave. When they see YouTube videos with distressed animals or photos on social media where animals die from our plastic use, they want change. We do, too. That doesn’t happen by modifying behaviors alone. Real transformation has to start with the source of manufacturing—from us.
SWZLE is Making an Impact, Becoming Environmental Stewards
At SWZLE, we're consumers just like you. We want to make a positive impact because we have families just like you. That's why we're standing alongside you in the fight against single-use plastic pollution. We know that the green consumer is watching. But more importantly, we don't want to be responsible for environmental degradation or all of those helpless distressed animals. We'd prefer not to contribute to either option.
And as new owners, Nick, Jess, Josh, and Joanna of 4Honor Brands, LLC, know that there's so much more to accomplish. 10-15 years ago, not many people carried reusable water bottles with them, and now it is common to see the majority of people with a reusable water bottle on their desk, in hand, in a bag, or their car, etc. As more cities and states outlaw single-use plastic straws, the demand for reusable straws to be portable will increase.
When you purchase your straws from SWZLE, you don't just get reusable straws. You also get a great looking carrying case for your straw that you can take with you anywhere you go! But we're not going to stop there. You can look forward to more great things from SWZLE in the future. Our strategy is to build on the green standard to become authentic environmental stewards—just like you.
City of Port Orange. (2019, April). Single-Use Plastic Straws: Environmental Impact and Alternatives. Port Orange. https://www.port-orange.org/DocumentCenter/View/7375/Plastic-Straw-Report
Espinosa, M., et al. (2020). Toward Biorecycling: Isolation of a Soil Bacterium That Grows on a Polyurethane Oligomer and Monomer. Frontiers in Microbiology. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.00404/full
Pitts-Tucker, C. (2020). The Problem of Shipping Wastes. BioEnergy Consult. https://www.bioenergyconsult.com/shipping-wastes/
Ritchie, H., et al. (2018). Plastic Pollution. Our World in Data. https://ourworldindata.org/plastic-pollution
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