Former Steeler Gets Eco-Friendly With Start-up That Might Change Your Habits

If Ryan Mundy has his way, you'll toss plastic straws for one of the paper straws his new company will manufacture.

Where some people see culture change, former Steelers defensive back Ryan Mundy and his partner Phil Causgrove see a business opportunity (that's Ryan, right, and Phil, left, in Ryan's Facebook photo above). It's why they founded their company SWZLE, a Chicago-based start-up that makes bio-degradable and reusable drinking straws as alternatives to plastic straws, which are falling out of favor because of the plastic "pollution" they cause.

Crain's Chicago (Mundy finished his NFL career with the Bears) says SWZLE wants to be positioned to fill the void, as cities, states and companies ban plastic straws. San Francisco, Seattle and Ft. Myers already have, and companies like Starbucks, American Airlines and Aramark have vowed to reduce their plastic waste.

"I think you'd have to be living under a rock to not catch a news headline or a story about the impact on plastics that is happening across the globe," Mundy told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "If they ban straws, then there needs to be a solution or an alternative."

"This is a lightning rod issue, and it's happening very fast. We're looking to ride the wave of that momentum." Ryan Mundy, former Steeler & Founder, SWZLE

Mundy's company is "riding that wave" by manufacturing and marketing biodegradable paper straws for restaurants and others in the hospitality industry. For consumers they make sustainable re-usable metal straws. They come in an 8-pack of straight and "bent" straws for $10. Their "SWZLE Pack" for $20 has the straws, a cleaning brush and carrying case (click here to shop).

As for convincing people to pay for something they now get for free, Mundy points out that a decade ago, people would have thought it was crazy to carry a refillable water bottle. Now everyone has one.

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