EDMONTON—Mickey Gois says he started his business to help save the environment.

“We saw the news that the marine life, the turtles, that straws are getting stuck to them,” he says.

“So I said, ‘Why don’t we look into the straw business? You know, paper straws.’”

He started working on his company in 2017, and by May 2019, Royal Paper Industries was manufacturing thick, white paper straws from two ingredients: paper and food-safe glue.

As it turned out, the timing was fortuitous.

On June 10, the federal government announced plans to ban single-use plastics across Canada as early as 2021.

“We took the right step at the right time,” Gois says. “After two days (following the announcement), probably I must have received 15, 16 calls, at least,” he says.

With an increased awareness of the toll single-use plastics have on the environment, many companies are slowly looking at alternative, greener options for packaging and straws.

Gois, who had previously worked in the paper industry, says he decided to look into paper straws as a possible business venture after learning about the environmental impacts of plastic straws from the media.

Currently, with seven machines running, Royal Paper aims to produce 1.4 million straws in an eight-hour period. However, Gois believes that might not be enough anymore.