Madison native EllaNor’s picture is featured on the packaging of Glass Dharma Straws! Learn more about her experience and glass straws below.
Hello! Thank you for answering my questions. Could you tell us who you are and where you are from? Ella, how old are you?
“Thank you! My name is EllaNor Thoreson. I just turned 12 and my family lives in Madison.”
How long have you been shopping at the Co-op?
“For as long as I can remember! Really, the Co-op has always been one of my most favorite places to shop. I have memories of Willy East from when I was really small, and of my mom letting me choose my own produce to juice! (‘ABC’—apple, beet, and carrot has been my lifetime favorite juice!) Of course, I also remember excitedly awaiting the opening of Willy West, just because it’s a bit closer to our home. Still, I love East and West equally!”
Tell us about the first time you discovered Glass Dharma Straws.
“Well, I mentioned that I love fresh juice and green smoothies too; actually my whole family does! My parents gave up plastic disposable straws before I was born…because they are really considered a plastic pollution that is so bad for the environment and even harmful to wildlife. Still, there is something kind of special about sipping green smoothies, or savoring ruby juice through a straw. For my 5th birthday I asked for a set of reusable straws. So, my mom did some research and discovered Glass Dharma, who created the glass straw industry in 2007. They really are hands-down, THE BEST glass straw out there!”
You contacted the owner of the company. How did that conversation go?
“Well, I completely fell in love with the set of Glass Dharma straws that I got for my 5th birthday. It was a set of decorative dots, meaning that each straw has these magical little colored dots, which are not only beautiful, but useful! The dots keep the straw from rolling off your counter and the different colors help each person identify their own drink. They are still (seven years later!) proudly displayed, like flowers in a little vase, next to our blender and juicer, and used daily! After receiving that lovely first set of Glass Dharma straws, I quickly became known as the ‘green smoothie fairy’ in our house. I made and delivered smoothies—complete with a magical Glass Dharma straw—to anyone who would drink them! One day, my mom took a picture of me being the ‘green smoothie fairy.’ We attached that picture to a thank you note that I had written, and sent it off to David Leonhardt, the owner of Glass Dharma.”
Could you explain to our readers what is so great about Glass Dharma?
“Well first of all, owners David Leonhardt and his wife Gail are wonderful! They put a tremendous amount of thought and care into every detail of what they do. Not only are their straws reusable and beautiful, but they are unique in that they are made with the strongest type of glass available, called borosilicate glass. Additionally, each straw undergoes a process of “annealing,” making them even more durable! Their cleaning brushes are stainless steel, so they won’t rust. All of Glass Dharma’s products are made in the U.S., and they use absolutely no plastic in their packaging, shipping materials or displays. Glass Dharma is really just an all-around great company, with a product that can change the world—one straw at a time!”
When did you learn that your picture was on the packaging? How do you feel about it?
“We sent that ‘green smoothie fairy’ picture to Glass Dharma in 2010, and in 2011 Mr. Leonhardt contacted my mom, to ask permission to trademark the photo. He explained that they loved the picture and that their graphic designer had made some adjustments to our original photo to make it fit even better with their ‘sip the world’ motto.
“I then became the ‘Glass Dharma Straw Fairy’! I was just seven at the time and I remember being excited about it, but I don’t think I really understood that my picture was going to be on every one of their packages. I remember being really surprised when I first saw myself on their Glass Dharma Newsletter. Sort of this, ‘ohhh… that’s me!’ And even now, I sometimes stop when I see the GlassDharma straw packages hanging on display in the Co-op, and I remember back to that younger me, sipping my green smoothie.”
“I feel proud to help promote and represent such a wonderful company, with really exceptional and sustainable products. I can set an example of using this one product: a beautiful, reusable Glass Dharma straw. I guess my hope is that it has a ripple effect. Perhaps, it will get people to stop and think about how many single-use plastic straws they use for one drink and then toss, creating waste and danger to our environment. Maybe instead, they’ll be inspired to pick up a Glass Dharma straw, ‘sip the world’ and realize not only how much better their drinks taste through these lovely glass straws, but how much they can reduce their ‘personal plastic pollution’ each year, too!”
Any other tips for living green?
“Oh, that’s a great question and something I love to promote! Our family tries to live by the ‘re-duce, re-use, re-cycle and re-create’ motto. We do this every day, by being conscious consumers, taking care of the environment that we all share and really it’s a fun, rewarding and creative way to live thoughtfully on our Mother Earth! I think if people just begin with one ‘green’ step at a time, they’ll notice the difference and stick with it, wanting to expand their efforts. Again, a sort of ‘ripple effect,’ whether it be using reuseable shopping bags, growing a garden, installing a rain barrel, walking to the library, or creating nourishing meals at home using locally grown produce! If people just stop and spend a moment being present, there are probably a 1000 ways that every one of us can live a ‘green and clean’ life, one small step at a time!”
Anything else you want to share?
“Thank you for your time! I am grateful to Willy Street Coop for this feature and for the wonderful community that we create together! I am hopeful that everyone reading this will consider switching to Glass Dharma Straws. Also, with the approaching holiday season, they are the perfect gift for nearly every person on your list!”