South Australian greentech start-up Mister RYE will launch a ReadyFundGo crowdfunding campaign on 25 October, with commitment to start producing 1 million organic, biodegradable drinking straws before Christmas.
The straws, which are made entirely from SA-grown organic rye, will be available only to people who pledge via the Australian sustainability platform. Backers will receive several rewards aiming to eliminate plastic straws ahead of South Australia’s proposed single-use plastics legislation*.
Founded by French entrepreneurs Marion Vigot and Alexis Branlard, Mister Rye is one of the first recipients of the Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) program.
Ms Vigot said that the pair had found their passion for sustainable business while travelling around Australia in a campervan.
“We found no beach that was not littered with plastic, and decided there had to be a better way, starting with the incredible statistic that Australians use an incredible 10 million plastic straws a day!" ,” Ms Vigot said. "Our research led us to find out that rye was the original straw, used hundreds of years before plastic.
“We were determined to source our materials locally, and actively searched for organic farmers to ensure the safety of the finished product.”
Within months, they had partnered with an organic farming family in the Riverland, using the byproduct from their crops to create Mister Rye’s prototype straws.
“Our farming partner’s farm is NASAA certified for more than 20 years, and this was a key component of our partnership,” Ms Vigot said.
"Even though our drinking straws are going to be sterilised with natural processes, we wanted to make sure the raw material was 100 percent free from chemicals, coming from certified organic agriculture.
"Nobody wants to drink from a straw that contains chemicals, and today's consumers like to know where their products come from."
To network with like-minded people, the team joined ThincLab Waite, based at the University of Adelaide’s agricultural research campus. ThincLab is part of the university's international incubator with locations in Australia, Singapore and France.
“That’s how we met Kath Cooper, a highly respected researcher and plant breeder for more than 25 years,” Ms Vigot said.
“Kath gave us different varieties of crops from 2005 and 2016 showing us rye was a strong and biodegradable product with a long shelf life.”
Feedback from the Mister RYE community has shown a great drinking experience and a positive response to switching to a local alternative even if owning another reusable option.
“Launching this project with the community has always been our main focus, and our 1 million straws campaign is the beginning of what we can do together to fight plastic pollution,” Ms Vigot said.
“We welcome both businesses looking to transition to a more local and sustainable alternative, and individuals who are already trying to reduce their environmental impact.”
1 Million Straws Campaign
The 1 Million Straws Campaign will allow exclusive pre-orders of its first 1 million straws from October 25.
The campaign will offer 10 different rewards, from seeding your own straws to jumping on a tour to meet with Mister RYE’s organic farming partners.
Orders range from a pack of 100 straws for home use, up to a couple of thousand for a hospitality business. A limited customised straws option will also be offered as part of the campaign.
Head to Mister RYE pre-launch website to register interest and learn more about the project.
* The South Australian Government is committed to addressing the impact of single-use plastics. Proposed legislation will be introduced into State Parliament and a selection of four precinct locations going "single-use plastic free" have already been announced.
For further information and media enquiries, please contact Marion Vigot on 0452 543 3630 or [email protected]
Photo Caption 2: Co-founders Marion Vigot and Alexis Branlard, winners of the eChallenge Venture Showcase People's Choice award
Photo Caption 3: Co-founders Marion Vigot and Alexis Branlard (credit: Samuel W Lacey)
Mister RYE is a new agri-startup launching in October 2019 with the 1 Million Straws Campaign. Based at the international incubator ThincLab Waite in Adelaide, South Australia, Mister RYE is working with local organic farmers using a byproduct from their crops to replace plastics. French founders Marion Vigot and Alexis Branlard started the project in April, being one of the first recipients of the SISA program (Supporting Innovation in South Australia). Mister RYE aims to be a zero waste business following a circularity model and plans to launch other plastic alternatives after the launch of its organic drinking straws.