‘Why don’t we help the environment?’: Edmonton company gets into business of paper straws

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WATCH ABOVE: There has been momentum to get rid of plastic straws, and an Edmonton business is capitalizing on that sentiment. It is one of the first companies in Canada to manufacture paper straws. And as Julia Wong reports, there is already growth on the horizon – May 18, 2019

An Edmonton company that is one of the first in the country to manufacture paper straws is expecting big growth in its future.

Mickey Gois started Royal Paper Industries in August 2017 to offer paper straws as an alternative to plastic straws.

“I said, ‘This is a good business. Why don’t we help the environment going forward and marine life? We can save it,’” he said.

“My goal is that everybody should ban the plastic straws and use the paper straw.”

Calls to eradicate plastic straws grew in 2018, and many Edmonton restaurants along with others across the country threw their support behind a ban.

READ MORE: Edmonton restaurants join plastic straw ban movement, amid lack of committal from PM

According to the United Nations, more than eight million tonnes of plastic finds its way into the ocean every year; that is equivalent to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.

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The United Nations also estimates that there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans by 2050 unless people stop using single-use plastic items.

READ MORE: Banning plastic straws — a look at how much it really helps, and who it could hurt

Gois started production of the paper straws, which are biodegradable, in May with eight staff members. He plans to add 12 more workers down the line.

He said interest in the company has been high; it recently signed an agreement with a distributor and has been fielding calls from interested people in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver as well as from Europe.

READ MORE: Ontario government proposing ban on single-use plastics

There are plans to open a second manufacturing site in Eastern Canada, but Gois said there are no plans for the company to leave its roots.

“We want to be here in Edmonton, for the Albertans and for the province itself,” he said.

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