TechInAfrica – Sedge grass gained a buzz-worthy come back to Uganda as its use as straws are re-discovered by Our Roots, a local manufacturer co-founded by Akram Ssemambo. The company is apt for the natural, determined on bringing sedge grass from the wild with only 3 active employees and 10 part-timers.
Our Roots started its establishment from scratch, with just a $55 funds, succeeded on running it from March. As young players, the teams behind it have a deep vision that goes way back to the past to revisit their ancestors’ utensils custom.
“These straws, long ago our ancestors used them for drinking the local brews, called Malwa in Luganda, and these straws, they used to get them from their gardens and other places. So we saw that it could be a great opportunity for us to fight single-use plastic straws with the plant-based ones”, said Ssemambo.
The products are favored by customers due to its natural tag and its ease of use. Kampala-based Yujo Izakaya Restaurant is the first bulk purchaser of the straws and gives highlight to its authentic and personal design and the efforts the manufacturers dine in for battling plastics problem, and the Managing Director of the restaurant, Hanif Rehemtulla noted that the restaurant’s customers are also moved by this natural straws movement and feels inspired to participate likewise.
Sedge grass is processed within 5 steps. The plants are washed, boiled with water, and after sun-dried, micro-waved and packed for instant use. The company charged 25 cents per straw and gives a discount for bulk purchases. The straws decompose in 3 weeks and can be re-used for a long time.
Our Roots hopes the plastic straw uses in Uganda will be cut by 45% in 5 years.