Glass blower Tyler Hayes creates glass straws at his studio on Cobble Hill Road. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Cowichan-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 staws each year

A company in the Cowichan Valley has developed its own alternative to the use of plastic straws.

The family-run business, Enviro Glass Straw Ltd. which operates from a studio on Cobble Hill Road, began in 2012 and was the first Canadian manufacturer of glass drinking straws.

Professional glass blower Tyler Hayes and his wife Leah run the business, which employs as many as seven people at busy times during the year.

Enviro Glass Straw has grown over the years and the company now sells more than 60,000 glass straws a year across North America and the Caribbean, with eyes on the growing markets overseas.

RELATED STORY: SURGE IN DEMAND FOR PAPER, GLASS STRAWS A BOON FOR PLASTIC ALTERNATIVE FIRMS

“We’ve always taught our kids, Morgan and Autumn, to be environmentally sensitive and when Autumn was three years old, she asked me to make her a glass straw so she wouldn’t have to use disposable plastic ones,” said Tyler, who also operates Mystic Glass Creations with business partner Kim Reid.

“Then family and friends began asking me to make them glass straws and we began to realize that there might be something here to build a business on. I did some research and saw that there were no other companies in Canada making glass straws at the time, and only two in the U.S.”

A recent study estimated that as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches, with tonnes more added each year, and communities and companies across the globe have begun banning or curtailing their use.

The City of Vancouver voted to totally ban the distribution of plastic straws as of June 1, 2019, as part of its Zero Waste 2040 strategy.

RELATED STORY: STRAWS, COFFEE CUPS TARGETS IN VANCOUVER’S PLAN TO CUT DOWN ON PLASTIC TRASH

The City of Duncan is the first community in the Cowichan Valley to consider curtailing the use of plastic straws, but council decided at a meeting earlier this month that it doesn’t want an outright ban on them until more information is considered.

RELATED STORY: DUNCAN LOOKS TO CURTAIL USE OF PLASTIC STRAWS

A staff report cautioned against banning plastic straws until alternatives are agreed upon because of the many disabled people that rely on them for eating and/or drinking.

The use of paper and metal straws are often considered as an alternative to plastic, but studies have found both are not useful for consuming hot liquids as many of the paper ones tend to disintegrate and the metal ones get too hot for the user.

RELATED STORY: B.C. WOMAN WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITY SHOCKED AFTER BEING REFUSED STRAW

Tyler said his glass straws are the perfect solution to these, and other issues.

He said he creates his straws in his studio using only borosilicate glass, the strongest commercially available glass on the market, from the Czech Republic.

“The straws won’t disintegrate and they are strong enough that people can’t bite through them,” Tyler said.

“The glass also doesn’t heat up with hot liquids in the same way as metal straws and the heat doesn’t conduct up all the way to the top. As well, there is no leaching from glass, like there is with metal, and some people have allergies to metal.”

Tyler said bamboo straws are also seen as an alternative to plastic ones, but they typically disintegrate after only a few uses.

Leah, who helps run the marketing end of the business, said that with the increasing focus on environmental issues around the world, more companies are now getting in on the action and selling glass straws.

But she said most are imported from China and only one other Vancouver-based company currently makes their straws in Canada.

“Our straws are also better quality and we offer five-year warranties on them,” Leah said.

“The market for our straws keeps growing and it’s keeping us busy.”

For more information on Enviro Glass Straw, click here.

Just Posted

Lake Flashback: Great Lake Walk, development mooted for Paldi, visitors want more attractions

There’s always been ideas for Paldi, but none have yet come to fruition

Caps get back in win column

Cowichan remains unbeaten at home with 5-2 win over Surrey

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

‘Youthful exuberance’ or ‘grievous deed’: opinion is divided on Trudeau’s ‘brown face’ costume

Local Liberal candidate asks voters to concentrate on Prime Minister’s political record

VIDEO: Cars, fans flock to Lake Cowichan show & shine

A&W, VI Motorsport Circuit, and 75th anniversary group put on a great show Sept 8, 2019

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Teens charged in stabbing death of B.C. man in strip mall parking lot

Two youths, aged 15 and 16, charged in Aug. 16 killing of South Surrey’s Paul Prestbakmo

Most Read