WinCup, Inc. has partnered with Burgerville, the Pacific Northwest’s hometown favorite quick service restaurant, to bring phade, the world’s first marine biodegradable, home and industrial compostable drinking straw, to all 40 locations across Oregon and southwest Washington. Made with PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate), a biopolymer derived from the fermentation of canola oil, phade sustainable straws and stirrers maintain the feel and user experience of traditional plastic equivalents but will safely return to nature through composting.
“Burgerville’s vision is to make the Pacific Northwest the healthiest region on the planet,” said Hillary Barbour, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Burgerville. “That includes healthy people and a healthy planet. For years, we have worked to replace our plastic straws with an alternative that holds up in Burgerville’s delicious shakes and drinks, and reduces our environmental footprint. The phade straw by WinCup moves us one step closer to our vision. We are excited that phade straws will soon be available in all Burgerville locations.”
Considered a hometown favorite in the Pacific Northwest, Burgerville has been in business for 60 years and has 40 stores located in Oregon and southwest Washington. Burgerville has implemented various sustainable practices from recycling restaurant waste and packaging materials to offsetting the electricity use of all its restaurants and corporate headquarters with renewable energy credits. Further, all its cooking oil is recycled into biodiesel, a cleaner burning blend of diesel fuel. The company also works work with ranch and farm partners who view land conservation as second nature.
“We are thrilled partner with Burgerville and playing a role in the company’s commitment to protecting the environment,” said Michael Winters, WinCup President and Chief Revenue Officer. “Sustainable sourcing is directly connected to the restaurant’s widespread popularity, and we know customers will be excited once they experience phade®. Finally, there’s a straw that performs like it’s supposed to and is vastly more sustainable than other alternatives to traditional plastic straws. It’s an honor for us to now be a part of Burgerville’s sustainability story.”
The development of phade involved a rigorous testing and certification process. TÜV AUSTRIA, a globally recognized independent third-party certifying body, certified phade® as both industrial and home compostable in a matter of months. TÜV also certified the material from which WinCup’s phade straw is made as marine biodegradable. Additionally, the Biodegradable Products Institute Inc. (BPI) has certified phadeas industrial compostable.
Biotech company Danimer Scientific, a global leader in PHA technology, creates the canola-based PHA resin using its Nodax biopolymer, sourced by WinCup to manufacture the straws and stirrers. TÜV AUSTRIA certified Nodax as industrial and home compostable, as well as soil, freshwater and marine biodegradable. The unique sustainable qualities of Nodax PHA and the phade straw continue to attract the attention of global restaurant brands that are turning to the straw as a high-performing biodegradable alternative to traditional petroleum-based straws.
“Unlike with petroleum-based straws – which take hundreds of years to biodegrade – phade straws generally biodegrade in a matter of months in environments where bacteria are present and can use PHA as a food source,” explains Brad Laporte, WinCup’s Chief Executive Officer. “The technology behind phade is truly unmatched and the partnerships we now have with leaders in the restaurant industry further validate our work and progress over the last several years. With WinCup’s demonstrated experience commercializing phade and our national footprint, as market demand continues to increase, we have the infrastructure in place to scale phade and play a meaningful role in reducing global plastic pollution.”
WinCup has also won numerous awards for the development and launch of phade, including the 2021 Innovation in FoodService Award for Sustainability Solutions from the National Restaurant Association and SmartBrief and 2020 Innovation in Bioplastics Award from the Bioplastics Division of PLASTICS (The Plastics Industry Association). Most recently, WinCup was recognized out of a pool of more than 4,000 global entries by Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards as a finalist in the Consumer Products and Enduring Impact categories and as an honorable mention in the World Changing Ideas -North America and General Excellence categories.
WinCup’s focus on sustainable solutions was bolstered in September 2020 when Los Angeles-based global private investment firm Atar Capital acquired the company. Among Atar’s core principles is a commitment to sustainability and investing in companies that work toward protecting the environment.