Plastic Straws Grab Headlines For A Different Reason

The power of promotional products is again in the spotlight after more than 140,000 recyclable, reusable, BPA-free, Trump-labeled plastic straws were sold at $15 for a pack of 10, raising more than $200,000 for the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign.

The straws, sold on the campaign’s online store beginning July 18, sold out in days but have since been restocked. The sales were not from big-time donors. In a Tweet on Monday, Brad Parscale, manager for Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign, said that more than half of all the straw purchasers were new small-dollar donors.

The choice of a reusable plastic straw, marketed using the phrase, “Liberal paper straws don’t work, STAND WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP,” appears to buck the controversial trend of banning plastic straws for environmental purposes. Or, it may have been Parscale’s own experience with paper straws. In a recent Tweet, accompanied by a photo of a wet, compressed paper straw in use, he proclaimed “I’m so over paper straws. This is exactly what they would do to the economy as well. #LiberalProgress. Squeeze it until it doesn’t work.”

Since the environmental concerns about plastic straws began in 2016, some cities and companies across the U.S. have banned or begun to phase out their use; the UK and Canada recently joined 32 other countries with similar laws on single-use plastic products.

The movement has been a boon to promotional products companies who manufacture and sell reusable metal straws and paper straws. In an online story last month, Fortune reported sales at industry supplier Aardvark (PPAI 678981) have risen 5,000 percent after companies such as Disney, American Airlines and Starbucks began to make their move away from plastic straws. The story added that Aardvark has been acquired by Hoffmaster’s Food Service Division, which has helped the Ft. Wayne, Indiana-based supplier increase its production.

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