Madeira Beach beach bar fights war on plastic by using plant-based straws from Bali

#IAMNOTPLASTIC straws made from cassava root

MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. — Every time Will Veneziano served a drink with a plastic straw he felt a twinge of guilt.

“It killed a piece of me,” said Veneziano.

The owner of the new Mad Beach Dive Bar knew he needed to make a change. He feared polluting local waters with straws from his business. 

Major companies such as Starbucks and Hyatt recently announced they will stop offering plastic straws because they can be extremely harmful to aquatic wildlife.

RELATED: IKEA to stop selling single-use plastic like straws and cups by 2020

On a scuba-diving trip to Bali, Veneziano found his solution... in his drink. The #IAMNOTPLASTIC straws seemed too good to be true. They looked just like regular plastic straws.

“Where did this come from?” Veneziano wondered. “How is this not plastic? Is it a gimmick?”

The plant-based straws are made using cassava root by Bali company Avani. They feel like plastic. Stay sturdy in your drink like plastic. But they are eco-friendly.

There is one slight downside. The #IAMNOTPLASTIC straws are more expensive than plastic ones. They cost three cents each instead of a penny.

However, the plant-based straws are compostable, whereas plastic straws take thousands of years to decompose.

For Will, it was a no-brainer and an Earth-saver. He bought 10,000 #IAMNOTPLASTIC straws. 

His customers love them. And that is just the start.

“They also make silverware, to-go cups, takeout bags, all out of this material,” Veneziano says.

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