Bamboo straws instead of plastic ones, all for the environment.

This organization is promoting sustainable tourism one bamboo straw at a time
news Environment Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 19:27

“Everybody talks about climate change, but what are we doing to make a change? We, at The Blue Yonder, believe that it is important to actually do something, rather than preaching about it,” says Gopinath Parayil, founder of the tourism organization.

An organization that attempts to promote responsible tourism, The Blue Yonder has come up with an alternative to plastic straws, bamboo straws.

Bamboo, easy to grow and a sustainable grass, was The Blue Yonder's answer to doing their extra bit for the environment. Since over a year, they have been giving straws made of bamboo shoots to their guests, who are delighted by the idea of using environment-friendly products. Many travellers also treat the straws as a designer souvenir and keep them.

And how do they manage to get hold of so many bamboo shoots? Through their tree-planting initiative called Travellers' Forest. It was in 2009 that they began the initiative. They asked each traveller to plant at least one tree near the Nila river. Gradually, the tree planting exercise expanded to other places, including to lands owned by private individuals. Through this, the initiative encouraged the concept called one-metre forests. 

Started in 2004, The Blue Yonder attempts to provide meaningful travel experiences for their travellers. Speaking to TNM, Gopinath recounts how the organization began to give bamboo straws to their guests. 

"Earlier we never used to provide our guests with straws when they were given tender coconuts. However, there would be a few in every group who would always ask for a straw. The idea of making straws out of bamboo came when we visited a friend's place in Thrissur last year. Although initially we tried making straws out of papaya, they turned out to be bitter. So, we switched to bamboo," Gopinath says. 

Commercializing the idea

After TBY spread the word about bamboo straws, they have been flooded with inquiries, Gopinath sounds overwhelmed. 

"We have been getting orders from hoteliers, restaurants and showrooms asking to supply the bamboo straws. Growing bamboo in your backyard is not rocket science, it is easy and sustainable," he adds. 

Although Gopinath is glad that the practice will now be replicated in other parts of the country and urges people to realize its potential, he insists that his organization is not keen on commercializing the idea. 

(All photographs from The Blue Yonder Facebook page)

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