FAQ

 

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

Why stop using plastic straws now?

 City and state governments across the country 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.

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 and the plastic bans seriously.

 

There are other alternatives to plastic for restaurants and bars. Why choose glass? 

 Glass is the superior choice in terms of appearance, reduced waste, ease of cleaning, durability, and customer satisfaction. Obviously, because our straws are reusable, they are not suitable for fast-food outlets or take-out/delivery.

⧫Our glass straws are a beautiful option that instantly upgrades the look of any beverage. They come in several colors and sizes, making it easy to choose the perfect straw to accompany any drink.

⧫Using reusable glass straws means your business is no longer creating waste from plastic straws or other single-use options.

⧫Our glass straws are dishwasher-safe and a breeze to clean. (Though we include straw cleaning brushes, they are rarely needed.)

⧫Glass straws are durable. They're made with the highest-quality borosilicate glass just like Pyrex baking dishes.

People love the smoothness of glass straws. It's like drinking a soda or beer from a glass bottle versus a can; glass just feels better. Plus, it's an excellent insulator, so it's perfect for either hot or cold beverages, and recommended by dentists for those who suffer from tooth sensitivity. 

If you own a restaurant, using glass straws can reduce your plumbing costs (no more straws clogging your drains.)

⧫By choosing glass straws, you'll free up storage space that's currently filled with boxes of single-use straws.

⧫There are a lot of straw options, including going strawless, but these all put the onus on your guests to adjust to your choice. Going with glass straws is the elegant solution that shows you care about both the environment AND your guests' experience

 

How should ToMA glass straws be washed? 

 Our glass straws are easily cleaned in a dishwasher. We include a dishwasher-safe caddy with each business collection or orders of 100 straws or more. Simply place your used straws in the caddy, and wash them along with your other glassware.

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

 

What about breakage?

 Our borosilicate glass straws are made with much stronger glass than typical drinking glasses. They're a lot stronger than you think. (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

 

Why can't I order your straws in different diameters or lengths? 

 Because we provide 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. 

After trying various lengths, it became clear that the 9" and 6" combination were the ideal sizes for both tall, fully-garnished drinks and standard cocktails. When we tried shorter straws (5" and 8"), customers felt that they were more difficult to use with garnished beverages, and they preferred the shorter options for most drinks.

 

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.

 

But glass straws are expensive. They're not an affordable option for a business.

 We thought so, too. That's why we've made it our mission to make glass straws available to businesses at an affordable price. While we applaud those who are selling and using glass straws in small sets for personal use, we know that the biggest impact will come from businesses. So, we focus on helping businesses make the switch to glass.  

 

Can I have my name or logo printed on our straws?

 We do not recommend or offer customization of our glass straws. In our tests, we found that etching (cutting into) the straws could leave sharp edges, and printing on the straws could begin to wear off after several cycles in the dishwasher. We decided that we wanted to protect the integrity and beauty of the glass straws by selling them undecorated only.

 

Where is ToMA located? 

 We're in Portland, Oregon. André--the visionary behind ToMA--grew up in southeast Portland, Tom was born and raised in Hillsboro, and Maya is from the tiny town of Gaston. We raised our children in the Portland area. It's home.

We use Relay Resources, located in northeast Portland, as our fulfillment company. Relay Resources creates opportunities for people to overcome barriers, achieve independence, and realize a stronger sense of purpose through training, employment, and housing

  

What about people with disabilities who require plastic straws?

 Excellent question! We are sensitive to the needs of those who require a flexible straw. All restaurants should maintain a supply of plastic straws for customers who request them.

 

Where are ToMA glass straws made?

  We searched for a superior manufacturer that meets the highest standards for working environment, fair wages, and of course, the quality of the glass itself. 

We're using the very same companies that make glassware for IKEA. IKEA has a rigorous selection process for suppliers, and we feel confident that we are working with the very best. These Asian manufacturers have outstanding products and service. Because we order thousands of straws at a time, our prices are competitive.

 

 

Will glass straws get stolen by customers?

 As a 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.

   

What do servers and bartenders need to know?

 Customers will be surprised and delighted by the glass straw in their beverage. Explain that the business decided to make an educated choice about plastic alternatives, and opted for beautiful, reusable glass that is as easy to clean as drinking glasses and flatware

NOTE: As every parent and restaurant server knows, children may not always behave at the table. Some children may see the glass straws as toys.

We highly recommend that servers use their discretion when including glass straws in beverages for children under the age of 12. It may be best to ask a parent's permission, or simply point out that the straws are made of glass and should be treated gently.  

 What about custom orders? 

 We're happy to work with you to design the perfect glass straw package for your business or event. We keep our prices low enough for resellers to consider offering our glass straws for sale with their own value-added features, such as hand-made cases or bags. 

We offer cloth bags for glass straws that are used as gifts, and can print logos or names on velveteen or natural jute drawstring bags in a range of colors.

Questions? We'd love to hear from you! 

Contact Maya at outreach@tomaglassstraws.com or fill out the form on our Contact page.

 

 

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