Little Green Panda: Sustainable Straws

Here at Smoothie School, we are strong believers in sustainability, recycling and the phasing out of single-use plastic. We try and make every effort to make changes to way we do things and we were steered in the right direction with Little Green Panda.

We first contacted Little Green Panda to collaborate on some smoothie making TikTok videos. After a few weeks on chatting to this awesome brand, we asked if we could run a story about them for you all to read.

The team here looked into Little Green Panda and all of the great work they are doing with sustainable straws and pulled together a list of questions.

We were fortunate enough to get a response from them and we can honestly say they are some of the nicest people we have ever had the pleasure to chat to.

So to find out a bit more about Little Green Panda, where they started and what they offer, read on…

Manon, Founder of Little Green Panda

What made you start Little Green Panda?

Little Green Panda was born out of the need to solve the guilty sipping epidemic. What started as a side to hustle (predominantly selling on Amazon), things quickly shifted as the ban on single use plastics took place. Hospitality venues were in need of a plastic-free straw. I’ve always been a game changer, never letting “that’s how it’s always been done” get in the way with what could be. I knew the devastating effects single use plastic has on our planet and decided to look for new ways to challenge the status quo. That’s when I discovered a viable, sustainable solution that was used way before synthetic materials were even a thing! I went back, dug deep (literally, into the ground) and bought back to the surface a range of 100% plant-based straws. Just one of Mother Nature’s many, many gifts.

What makes you different from other sustainable straw companies?

We have a close relationship with our farmers and artisans who hand-make our straws. We provide them with a second source of income by taking care of their agricultural waste and giving it another purpose, which in our case are drinking straws!

You can meet our farmers and artisans here:

Little Green Panda Wheat Straws
Little Green Panda Bamboo Straws

Could you tell us some facts about plastic and paper straws so people can understand the scale of why single-use plastic is such a hot topic at the moment?

Plastic straws are being used and discarded in the billions every day globally. They last forever though we only need them for a few minutes. They’re one of the top 10 most common plastic pollutants found in beach cleanups. If something is only going to be used once, why is it engineered to last for centuries? This old way of doing things seemed fundamentally flawed, so we set out to change that. When it comes to paper straws, it may seem like the better alternative however, they are a cause for deforestation as they are made from trees. Tree’s take 20 years to grow back where as our range of plant-based straws grow back in just 6 months!

Please tell us briefly about the products you have.

You can find all this information on our website 😊

How long do the straws last for before they need to be replaced?

Bamboo straws are a reusable option that last the length of time and are dishwasher safe. For venues, we have two single use options such as wheat and sugarcane straws, that are disposable and 100% compostable! They last in liquid for more than 48 hours without going soggy.

Can the straws be used in hot as well as cold liquids?

They sure can! They can be used in cold, warm and hot to up to 50°C liquids making them perfect for any kind of drink. 

How have businesses and customers reacted to your products?

Our straws are quite novel and unique! When we get them to try the straws, they can’t believe that these options exist and are made entirely from agricultural waste! They feel and look just like plastic but are much kinder on the planet. It really is a no brainer!

To date, we’ve sold over 3 Million straws to many organisations across the globe who are taking the initiative to implement better CSR and providing their customers with more sustainable plastic-free alternatives. 

What, if any, challenges have you faced when trying to change people’s behaviour to use sustainable straws rather than the one-use plastic straws?

Education and changing our daily behaviours! That is probably the hardest challenge.

How can people become brand ambassadors?

We have hundreds of incredible ambassadors who want to get involved in being more sustainable and get to meet like-minded individuals who are just as passionate as they are. They are also huge advocates and help spread the word about our mission to make these drinking straws the new commodity! More information available on the Little Green Panda Website.

What else can people do to help reduce single-use plastic waste?

How can we stop or at least reduce our contribution to this global problem.  8 million tonnes of plastic goes into our oceans EVERY YEAR!⁣ Sea creatures innocently eat our plastic chunks & micro plastics, often killing them & distributing the eco-system.⁣ Eventually these plastics transfer into the human food chain.⁣ You can help by avoiding single use plastic by committing to one specific swap. When you’ve got it dialled, find another swap to work on! Our Instagram has some great suggestions and tips on how to become more zero waste : @littlegreenpanda_ ⁣Make sure to follow us!

What is next for Little Green Panda?

We have big hairy audacious goals in the pipeline! We’re starting off with drinking straws but that is only the beginning, as innovation never ends! We’re looking at developing more innovative products to replace single-use packaging.

Manon and Darine of Little Green Panda

A big thank you to Manon and Darine of Little Green Panda for taking the time to talk to us.