KOTA KINABALU – Concerned with the threat of plastic straws on the environment especially marine life, a lecturer was inspired to come out with her own brand of bamboo straw as an alternative and to contribute to the sustainability of the world.
Dubbed as ‘Double Ugou’, the local brand initially began on a small scale by two young women entrepreneurs to produce bamboo drinking straws not for profit but to embark on a mission to create awareness on caring for the environment among the people.
Rosevia Francis, 29, who is responsible for marketing Double Ugou said she and her partner, Roslia Dumis, 32, began to market bamboo straws in November last year.
Rosevia, who is also a lecturer with a local university in Sabah said both of them were touched after watching a viral video of a turtle suffering from a straw stuck in its nostril last year.
“It had such a strong impact on us ( after watching the video), we felt compelled to do something for a better environment as we are sharing the world with other creatures,” she said.
Rosevia said the business of bamboo drinking straw was only a platform for them to carry out a social responsibility by sharing knowledge and creating awareness in the community to reduce the use of plastic straws which could clearly affect the quality of the environment.
She said Double Ugou is only using an initial capital of RM400 and obtained their supply of bamboo from Tamparuli and they have since sold more than 600 sets of bamboo straws with each set of two straws and a small brush priced at RM20.
According to her, the bamboo drinking straw can last three and six months depending on how they are used.
Apart from bamboo straws, Double Ugou also sells other products based on zero waste product and recyclable materials such hand sewn shopping bags, cotton mesh bags and bathing set based on Sabah natural resources, she added.
“We began marketing our products via Jesselton Artisan Market, a platform for local entrepreneurs to sell their handicraft and received very encouraging response from locals and foreign tourists,” she said.
Meanwhile, Roslia said they chose ‘Double Ugou’, to combine English and Dusun words as their business brand as it was by two women and according to her, Ugou in the Dusun language means women.
Roslia who designed the brand, label and packaging of Double Ugou chose a simple, exclusive and elegant concept apart from promoting the elements of environment friendly materials in their products.
“We want to ensure all substances used for our business are environmentally friendly without using any plastics which would only damage the environment,”she said.
Roslia also said she and Rosevia wanted to see Sabahans acquire greater awareness on using products which are biodegradable.
“We hope restaurant operators or shops would stop using plastic straws by taking a small step of using bamboo straws,”she added.