FAQ about ToMA Glass Straws

 

Photo of black Labrador named Orenco with sand background. Orenco belongs to ToMA Glass Straw co-founder André in Portland, Oregon.

Where is ToMA located? 

 We're based in Portland, Oregon. André Jehan (our visionary co-founder) grew up in southeast Portland. Tom Frost was born and raised in Hillsboro. Maya Frost (happily married to Tom for almost 35 years) is from the tiny town of Gaston. The three of us have been friends for over 25 years, and raised our children (six millennial daughters!) in the Portland area.  

We love Oregon, and love supporting and promoting Oregon businesses. You'll see plenty of stunning photos by Oregon wedding photographers and nature photographers, plus plenty of glass straw inspiration on our Instagram account

More Portland connections:

We partner with  Relay Resources, located in northeast Portland, for our order and sample request fulfillment. Relay Resources provides training, employment, and housing for people with barriers. 

We give a percentage of our profits to The Freshwater Trust, a non-profit organization that protects and restores freshwater ecosystems in Oregon, Idaho, and California. 

 

Why should I stop using plastic straws now?

 City and state governments across the United States and around the world are banning the use of plastic straws. In the U.S. alone, up to 500 million straws are used daily, and many of them end up polluting our waterways and harming marine life. 

For personal use, there are a number of plastic alternatives (including glass straws) that can be used at home, at work, or in restaurants or cafes. Every individual has an impact on the environment, and choosing to stop using plastic straws is a personal choice that matters.

For business owners, switching now is an important step in corporate responsibility. Even if there isn't a ban in your area, switching now shows your customers, staff, and community that you're a leader who takes the single-use waste problem and plastic bans seriously.

Are plastic straws the biggest source of waste? No, but switching to a reusable straw option is a way to start the conversation about personal consumption, corporate responsibility, and sustainable alternatives. 

 

Why choose glass straws? 

 Here's a handy little cheat sheet to help you understand the benefits of going with glass.

Our glass straws are:

Beautiful - They come in several colors to enhance any beverage or table setting and match any theme or brand.

Luxurious - Just as sipping from a drinking glass or glass bottle offers a more luxurious experience than drinking from a can or plastic cup, glass straws add smooth elegance to any beverage.

Reusable & Dishwasher-safe - Glass straws can be used hundreds of times, just like your drinking glasses. They're easy to clean by just placing them in the silverware caddy of most dishwashers, or rinsing them by hand and leaving them upright in a jar to dry.

Durable - Our straws are made of laboratory-grade borosilicate, and are much stronger than stemware. 
Watch this fun 20-second video:

https://tomaglassstraws.com/pages/videos

Eco-friendly - Reduce the use of disposable straws (and increase awareness of straw consumption) by switching to reusable glass straws at home and in your business.

Hygienic - Glass is clear, so it's easy to see that it's sparkling clean inside and out. (No lurking residue!)

Flavor-free - Unlike paper, bamboo, corn, hay, pasta, or metal straws, a glass straw will never adversely affect the flavor or integrity of the liquid passing through it.

Affordable - At a dollar or so per straw, they're easy on the budget.

Dentist-recommended - Glass is a natural insulator, so it reduces the discomfort of tooth sensitivity as well as preventing teeth stains.

Unique - Most people have never used a glass straw, so offering one to them is sure to be a memorable experience that they'll share with others.

Newsworthy - Using, selling, or giving away glass straws is new and newsworthy. Leverage that to get more attention for your business in local or trade publications, on social media, and in marketing campaigns. (Or, just share your 25-pack with friends and family. It's a simple way to be generous and help reduce waste.)

Whether you're considering switching to glass straws in your business or just want a few glass straws to share with loved ones, we invite you to consider the benefits of choosing a plastic-free option that enhances rather than diminishes your sipping experience.

  

How do I wash my ToMA glass straws? 

 Our glass straws are dishwasher-safe!  Simply place your used straws in the silverware caddy, and wash them along with your dishes and glassware. We recommend that you store them upright in a glass jar for quick drying.

Prefer to wash your glass straws by hand? No problem. Though we include cleaning brushes with every order, in the vast majority of cases, a quick soak, wipe, and rinse is all it takes to clean the straws. 

 

Will my ToMA glass straws break?

 Our borosilicate glass straws are made with much stronger glass than typical drinking glasses.  (Take a look at this 20-second video.) Of course, any glass can be broken or chipped if dropped from a height or onto a hard surface, but in our months-long tests, we saw very little breakage. Simply handle your glass straws the same way you would handle your other glassware

Worried that glass straws might cut your mouth? Read this. '

Wondering why we don't promise that our glass straws are unbreakable? Read this

 

Can I order ToMA glass straws in custom diameter sizes or lengths? 

 Because we offer glass straws in bulk, we focus on providing the diameters and lengths that work best in most settings.

We tested a range of glass straw sizes in busy commercial settings for months. We learned that going with a narrower diameter straw resulted in challenges with cleaning and higher rates of breakage

All of our straws come in the same diameter (9 millimeter) to ensure that they are easy to clean and highly resistant to breakage with heavy use. Our glass straws work well for most liquids, including smoothies, but they are not suitable for boba (bubble tea) drinks. 

After trying various lengths, it became clear that the 6-inch and 9-inch straws are the ideal sizes for both standard cocktails and tall, fully-garnished drinks. When we tried shorter straws (5-inch and 8-inch), customers told us that they were more difficult to use with garnished beverages, and were too short for those who enjoy stirring their drinks. 

Looking for glass straws in custom lengths? Contact us! We can refer you to good glass straw vendors in your area.  Send an email to Maya at outreach@ToMAglassstraws.com 

  

What if my straws get damaged during shipping?

 We've had a lot of experience shipping glass straws, and rarely have any issues with breakage. If any of your straws arrive damaged, please take a photo immediately. Send it to us at outreach@tomaglassstraws.com along with a description of any damaged contents, and we will work with you and the shipper to replace any broken items.

 

Can I get my name or logo custom printed or laser etched on my ToMA glass straws?

 Yes!  We offer custom laser etching on our glass straws for orders of 1000 straws or more. That's a lot of straws, but the good news is that the price is super reasonable!  Contact Maya for more information. 

Looking for custom etching of glass straws in smaller quantities? We can steer you in the right direction! Send an email to Maya at outreach@ToMAglassstraws.com and she'll be happy to recommend companies that can help you. 

      

Where are ToMA glass straws made?

  We searched for a superior glass manufacturer that meets the highest standards for sustainable practices, employee safety and health, fair wages, and of course, the quality of the glass itself. Unfortunately, we were not able to find a supplier in the United States that met these strict standards. 

We're using the very same companies that make glassware for IKEA. IKEA has a famously rigorous selection process for suppliers, and we feel confident that we are working with the very best. These Asian and European manufacturers have outstanding products and service, and can produce the volume of straws needed to help businesses and the events industry switch to glass straws. Because we order many thousands of straws at a time, our prices are very competitive.

 

Will our ToMA glass straws get stolen by customers? 

 As a retail business owner, you know there is always the risk of theft. Initially, glass straws may attract the attention of those who might consider taking one. However, our experience has shown that as the novelty wears off, loss becomes less of a risk.

There are some creative ways to prevent and reduce loss. One busy restaurant is offering the straws to their customers at cost: before tallying the bill, they simply ask the guests if they would like to purchase the straws in their drinks. Some businesses choose to consider their straws as a marketing cost, and give their straws away with their premium cocktails, as gifts for event attendees, or as promotional items in other ways. 

But by far the most common way to deal with theft is to simply expect that some will happen. In our tests, we found that having servers point out that the business is choosing to go with a reusable option that customers love keeps more straws in glasses.

Restaurant and bar owners tell us that offering beautiful, reusable glass straws to their customers brings benefits that are well worth the risk of occasional loss. Their re-orders are proof that they're having success switching to glass!