“I love our state. I cherish this clean, green state and enjoy going out to the coast… I am just sick of throwing things away, sick of plastic.”
As someone who has spent almost 30 years in Oregon, Craig Graffius has seen the changes that this beautiful state has undergone. Ready with a design for his EcoGlass straw 8 years ago, Craig says we are now entering a time where plastic is a thing of the past and the world is looking for alternatives. “Just in the last century everything has become plastic and now we are really seeing the repercussions of that.” From small beginnings selling his straws at a farmers market, Craig is now sending his straws out across the globe, with requests from countries such as Argentina, Australia, and Japan. Craig has been in the glass industry for over 30 years, but glass straws was not something that was always on his mind. “In the early days, my children were the reason I began making glass straws. We were buying and throwing away tons of plastic straws.” Now, Craig’s family, who is troubled by the trash-scattered beaches they witness when they visit family in Hawaii, say at this point they’re just done with single-use plastic.“Plastic sucks because a lot of it is meant to be used and then thrown away. Glass is the best alternative material for straws out there.” EcoGlass straws are made from Pirex glass tubing which is heated, colored, and shaped into beautiful and durable straws. Craig boasts of a product meant for longevity. His straws can withstand extreme temperatures, are dishwasher and microwave safe, hypoallergenic, and do not breakdown or leach chemicals when met with acidic foods or years of washing.
A lot of the criticism surrounding the movement to ban plastic straws comes from people who are worried that a ban on straws will prove to be harmful for individuals who might require a straw to eat and drink. Craig Graffius says the goal of EcoGlass straws is to protect the environment from plastic pollution while also addressing accessibility for those with special needs who require a straw daily to eat and drink. He is setting his sights on hospitals and medical supply companies in an effort to move them away from plastic straws and towards glass instead.
As an Oregonian and a surfer, Craig says the Pacific Ocean and the Oregon Coast are a part of him. “I love our state. I cherish this clean, green state and enjoy going out to the coast. Again, I am just sick of throwing things away, sick of plastic.” Craig believes that now that we can look back and see what we have done by creating a single-use, disposable world, we can move in the right direction to change the ways things are. “Most people have never seen a glass straw. Now the public is loving the idea of it. I am so blessed and privileged that this is all finally coming together.”