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Will using a plastic straw alternative really help save the oceans and marine life?

Every little bit helps but the reality is that plastic straws are far from our biggest problem when it comes to ocean pollution. Even if we eliminate every plastic straw on the planet we still have a massive problem. However, the single use plastic straw is known as the “gateway plastic”. If we can learn to skip a plastic straw and instead start reaching for alternatives like bamboo it may be an encouraging reminder to people everywhere to forgo other single use plastics such as plastic bags and bottles. The effects of these types of efforts may be seen in our own communities but as we spread the word and people everywhere incorporate similar practices then we may really start seeing some positive effects worldwide.


What percentage of my purchase is donated to conservation?

Wahi Hawaii is a proud member of the 1% for the Planet program. Which means that we donate 1% of our total annual revenue to nonprofit environmental conservation organizations around the globe. In addition we are very proud to also make donations of cash and in kind gifts to local conservation efforts here in Hawaii.

Wahi donated approximately $4,000 in 2019 (cash and in kind gifts) to MOCMI, Whale Trust, Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, Kamali'i Elementary School, Hope Chapel, Maui Ocean Center, Eco Surf Hawaii Project, Kihei Charter school, Maui Huliau Foundation and the Maui Chamber of commerce. These donations are in addition to donations, gifts and support given to numerous beach clean ups, fundraisers and group conservation efforts here in Hawaii and on the mainland.


Which conservation programs does Wahi support?

We are big fans of the team at the MOC Marine Institute! We make ongoing donations throughout the year in the form of cash, in kind gifts and purchases towards their fishing line recycling bin program. MOCMI is a young non profit division of the Maui Ocean Center that got it's start in 2016. Their mission:

 “To inspire lifelong environmental stewardship and ensure the survival of coral reefs and sea turtles in Hawaii through science-based conservation efforts, education and, outreach.”


Where does your bamboo come from?

Throughout the first 12 months of business we learned a lot about bamboo. Even better we have met some wonderful artisans and craftsman from around the world who are experts in bamboo. On a regular basis we talk with farmers and landowners across the globe and discuss things like heat and rainfall. Together we decide where the best bamboo is being produced. Once this is determined the bamboo is then harvested in that area, dried, cut to size or crafted, washed and sent to us. Here at home we inspect each piece by hand for any defects before packaging our products and making them available to our customers. We are currently using bamboo from Indonesia, Vietnam, India and China.


Can I use my bamboo straws and/or cutlery "right out of the box"?

For best results we recommend washing all of our bamboo products before first use. This will remove any bamboo dust that may remain after your straws/cutlery have been crafted in the workshop. It will also result in a cleaner taste right from the start.


Will a bamboo straw/cutlery make my drink/food taste like bamboo?

In our opinion, no. However, this is an all natural product created by Mother Nature herself. In rare cases some people experience a slight “grassy” taste during their first couple of uses. This is typically a result of not rinsing the straw/cutlery before using them for the first time. Be sure to wash your new Wahi products before using to avoid any bamboo taste.


Are Wahi bamboo straws the same thickness as a plastic straw?

It is important to note that our straws are made from 100% natural bamboo reeds and no two are the same. However, our straws are intentionally cut to a more familiar diameter (usually less than 1cm) to provide a similar drinking experience to a traditional plastic straw.


What is the difference between the gold and green Wahi straws?

We source bamboo from all over the world. Yet, our process is the same. Our bamboo is harvested, washed and set outside to air dry. Essentially “curing” the bamboo. Our green straws are made from a younger bamboo which retains some moisture between the inner fibers resulting in a slightly green color. The curing process for the green bamboo is much shorter than the gold. Both types of bamboo straws are excellent alternatives to single use plastics and can last for years with proper care.


How long will my straws/cutlery last?

Wahi bamboo straws and cutlery can last for months even years with proper care. Please see care instruction link.


What is the best way to clean my straws/cutlery?

We recommend hand washing. After each use rinse your straw under running water or shake in a jar of warm soapy water then set aside to air dry. After thick or sticky beverages we suggest using a cleaning brush by inserting it into each end and scrubbing back and fourth a few times. Then rinse with warm water and air dry. For a super thorough clean you can add 1Tbsp of white vinegar to a pot of boiling water, add your straws and let sit for 2-3 minutes before removing and air drying. Many customers do this every 2-3 times a year depending on usage.

For cutlery, we recommend scrubbing as you would your stainless steel cutlery at home but like with straws, stick to hand washing and air drying.


What is the best way to dry my straws/cutlery after washing?

Drying your straws/cutlery is a very important contributor to the life of your bamboo products. Bamboo naturally has antibacterial properties but keeping your straws/cutlery dry when not in use will not only prevent mold from growing but will keep them looking fresh and clean. While some fans of bamboo straws/cutlery suggest lying utensils down to dry we choose to keep a mason jar on our counter and like to stand our products upright to dry.


Can I put my Wahi straw/cutlery in the dishwasher?

A lot of people will tell you that bamboo utensils like ours are dishwasher safe. In fact we too have tried using a dishwasher with some success. However, in our experience we find that hand washing and air drying are more conducive to our products lasting for a very long time.


I left my straw in a drink over night and now it is very dark. What should I do?

Don’t panic, chances are your straw will be just fine. Remove your straw from your drink, wash as normal and set aside to air dry. Once the straw is completely dry it will typically return to its natural color.


Are bamboo straws better than stainless steel straws?

This is a matter of opinion and at the end of the day we feel that ANY alternative to single use plastic is a better choice. Steel is great and can last for a very long time. Bamboo is an organic material and although it has a shorter life span than steel it is our preference. Bamboo is softer on teeth and stays at room temperature whether or not you're drinking a cold beverage. Stainless can sometimes get very cold and have an adverse effect on sensitive teeth. Bamboo is also one of the fastest growing plants on earth which makes it incredibly sustainable. Bamboo has naturally anti bacterial properties, is completely compostable and requires 50 times less energy to produce than steel. I think it's safe to say...we like bamboo best.