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Jamie-Lee Kay

Co-founder of The Other Straw

Jamie-Lee co-founded The Other Straw in 2018, a social enterprise that is replacing plastic straws with ethically sourced bamboo straw. Jamie-Lee’s mission is for the company to become carbon neutral by 2025. Having already replaced 48,378,560 plastic straws from landfill, Jamie-Lee is convinced that sustainable business could be one of the solutions to combat climate change.

Read Jamie-Lee’s story and read what action she wants the government to take.

Can you tell us a bit about The Other Straw? 

theotherstraw is a social enterprise replacing plastic straws with reusable, ethically-sourced bamboo straws. We launched late 2018. Since then, we have replaced 48,378,560 plastic straws from entering our landfills and polluting our natural environments.

Our mission is to make the world a more sustainable place. And this is embedded in everything we do. We offset all our CO2 emissions and invest in regenerating empty lands and restoring forests. We put part of our sales revenue to environmental projects to protect and restore our natural ecosystems. We are a 1% For The Planet member to further boost our support and love for our natural environments and oceans.

Why is The Other Straw taking climate action?

Climate change isn’t a distant threat—it's taking place now.

The science is crystal clear. Climate change poses the biggest threat facing our planet. The Planet is heating up, and really fast. Fires are burning across Australia, and heatwaves are widespread across Europe. The extreme events and consequences are apparent.

We can't sit around waiting for solutions by governments, policy makers or organisations. We can't wait for the world to change. We need to make it happen ourselves.

Can you share your commitments to climate action?

Climate policies and strategies are at the forefront of our business. We want to make sure everything we are doing is working towards a cleaner, healthier planet.

All of our products are made from sustainable and renewable materials including bamboo and coconut. As a result, we've avoided 69,964 kg CO2 emissions from people switching to our straws instead of producing plastic straws. For our packaging, we do not use any virgin paper or materials. All our satchels, paper and card is made from post-consumer materials. So we can limit our CO2 footprint.

We’ve gone 100% carbon-neutral.

Since day one, all of our orders have been sent out 100% carbon-neutral. We've supported 11 carbon offset projects to cancel our emissions and provide 100% carbon-neutral delivery. But we decided that just offsetting our deliveries wasn't enough. So we turned it up a notch and cancelled our entire business CO2 emissions.

We did an assessment of our entire business operations. Once we were able to get a full understanding of the emissions, we could see where we could improve. After this, we knew how much we needed to offset to have net-zero emissions.

We partnered with Carbon Neutral Australia. They are a carbon solutions provider and reforestation developer. Through our partnership with them, we are restoring forests and regenerating empty lands across Australia.

By 2025 we will be climate positive.

Being carbon-neutral is a great start, but there is more that needs to be done. We've realised that reducing our emissions to zero is not enough. For this reason, we are committed to being climate positive by 2025.

We track and monitor our business greenhouse gas emissions. We're currently researching and investing in other renewable energies and strategies as part of our commitment to protect, restore and regenerate our planet.

Is there a project The Other Straw is currently working on that you are excited about?

We're currently in the process of applying to become B Corp.

We want to be B Corp certified and to take the lead on environmental and social issues impacting our planet. It is holding us accountable and helping us set up policies that can further reduce our carbon footprint, and help tackle climate change with other like-minded businesses.

What real-world opportunities have you uncovered from taking climate action today?

We're using theotherstraw as a force for good. We're advocating, educating and empowering the next generation of game-changers and social leaders to tackle climate change.

Just being sustainable isn't good enough. Our climate needs to be the forefront of every business agenda and decision.

Whether you're a startup, small business or large corporation, there will always be opportunities, decisions and tradeoffs. It's up to you and how you decide to use your resources to tackle climate action.

What action would you like to see Australia take on climate change?

To move away from fossil fuels. While we've seen so many other countries phasing out fossil fuels and moving towards a net zero carbon goal, it feels so frustrating that we're investing in new coal plants.

We need to see greater investments in solar and wind to help power our country. In a post-covid landscape, we want the government to invest in a green recovery and to help create a more sustainable, and greener future for our nation.

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