(Courtesy of the Jacksonville Business Journal) – A Georgia-based foodservice company is manufacturing biodegradable straws in Jacksonville, with the product being used in local establishments like the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club and Omni Amelia Island Resort — as well as nationally in places like Dunkin’ doughnut shops.
The straws, made at WinCup’s westside factory, were officially released in July 2020 and formally launched to consumers in January.
The biodegradable straws are branded as Phade and manufactured by WinCup, a company based in Stone Mountain, Georgia, that makes disposable polystyrene cups, bowls and containers, among other items.
The new straws are made with polyhydroxyalkanoates, abbreviated PHA, a material made by fermenting sugar or starch feedstock. Phade is made from PHA crafted out of canola oil by Danimer Scientific, which feels similar to traditional plastic.
“We looked very deeply into (paper straws) and found out that it did not have a very good consumer appeal,” WinCup President Michael Winters said. “Consumers didn’t like the fact that paper straws get soggy and they collapse, and they kind of have a funny feeling in your mouth, but people were moving to them because there wasn’t really a good alternative.”
Locally, the straws are being used at the Ponte Vedra Inn, Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Caps on the Water, Conch House, Safe Harbour Seafood and Sawgrass Country Club.
Aaron Stiles, the director of food & beverage at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club said in an email that as the Inn continues its efforts to be more sustainable, Phade has set the bar for those who follow.
Over 100 million straws have been shipped to customers in the first six months of launch during a pandemic, Winters said, and the US straw market today is about a $570 million market.
“That equates to about 128 billion straws,” Winters said. “As we market it and continue to pick up speed along the way, we could take a substantial percentage of that overall market based on it being a meaningful relevant breakthrough innovation in the straw category.”