March 25, 2023 Supporting Manhattan-area entrepreneurs, businesses, events

Manhattan Based Great Paper Straws Wins $8,000 StartUp MHK Award, based in Manhattan, Kansas, took home one of two grand prizes at StartUp MHK on Saturday at Peoples State Bank. In August, Great Paper Straws announced that they are a new USA manufacturer of water-resistant biodegradable paper straws, based and produced right here in Manhattan, Kansas.

Enrique Garibay, owner of, said “The money is being used to pay the registration fees for attending two of the largest food service trade shows: The Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco and the National Restaurant Association Trade show. These two shows allow us to connect with hospitality and restaurant owners, managers and distributors nationwide.”

“Manhattan is our home so we wanted to start the business here and grow it.  All too often young talent is forced to move away from Manhattan to find employment opportunities. As we grow the paper straw business and create our own disposable product line, we have a real opportunity to create employment opportunities here in our local community,” Garibay said.

After Great Paper Straws won the non-tech category, the owners shared their excitement of the award. “We were excited to win. And those that we talked to were excited to hear that there was such a business like ours in the community. Everyone we talked to was excited to see that we were manufacturing here in Manhattan. Winning the competition was also validation that the marketplace is becoming more eco-conscious. Hopefully, news of our business will help others here in the Midwest become more eco-friendly and eco-aware. Knowing that others saw the same vision that we saw was extremely encouraging.”

Enrique continued, “Competing in StartUp MHK forced us to take a hard look at our business plan and business model. Putting together the presentation helped galvanize our business focus. Preparing the presentation helped us realize our unique skills and abilities and how our product was truly unique in the marketplace. It makes us realize that we have experiences that other local entrepreneurs could benefit from as well.” 

“We are likely the only Minority Business Entity (MBE) manufacturer of paper straws in USA. Our straws last long because they are made from a paper that is food safe paper and water resistant. They don’t fall apart in your lips like many other straws do.”

Garibay continued, “Astraws® brand paper straws are the world’s only patent-pending water-resistant paper straws. They set the Gold Standard for paper straws worldwide. Water resistant paper straws last longer, so you and your guests will use fewer of them while enjoying their drinks.”

An important characteristic of Astraws® is that they are environment-friendly. They are 100 percent biodegradable, 100 percent recyclable, and 100 percent compostable. Unlike the polylactic acid (PLA) thermoplastic straws that require the high pressure and temperature found in a commercial composting facility, Astraws® disintegrate naturally in the soil. The result is that they will not fill landfills like PLA straws do.

The Astraws® are also being offered as premium eco-friendly paper straws on Amazon. They are also taste- and odor-free, and because of their water resistance, they will last longer while immersed in any cold or hot beverage unlike the other paper straws that will fall apart after a short while.

The material used for the Astraws® paper straws are FDA and EU compliant as food safe materials, which means that they are safe for the whole family, guests, and customers. These paper straws are white in color, which means they are attractive and appropriate for use in parties and gatherings. In fact, they have been observed to glisten in the light when placed in a drink. They are appropriate for birthday parties, holiday parties, baby showers, weddings, bachelorette parties, and more.

Enrique wants to point out that people who want to save the Earth from single-use plastic can depend on the Astraws® biodegradable paper straws. He explains that they are a family of entrepreneurs. They are a registered Minority Business Enterprise with the State of Kansas and with the Mountain Plains Minority Supplier Development Council.

“I would encourage every business owner to compete in this competition. It makes one answer the hard questions and gives the owner a reality check on whether what we’re doing is really a scalable business, or merely an expensive hobby. At the end of the day, there has to be a need/problem that the business has to solve. It gives validation to the business owner that others see that there is in fact a need and reason for the business.”

These straws can be used for various kinds of beverages, including drinking water sodas, juices, milk, and even alcoholic beverages. They remain intact while people are sipping their favorite beverages without having to change straws after just a few sips.

The paper straws can be purchased from in bulk by either the box or pallet. They are sold as wrapped straws, unwrapped paper straws, or unwrapped straws in carton boxes. They are available at either wholesale or retail pricing.

For more information about, contact the company here:

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