East Valley company aims to replace plastic straws with paper products

Sep 6, 2018, 4:48 AM

(Pexels Photo)...

(Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — A pair of former Intel engineers said they are taking everything they have learned from their decade working in the semiconductor field and are now focused on manufacturing paper products that replace plastic goods.

Troy Swope and partner Yoke Chung are the founders of Footprint LLC.

Swope said a 135,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Gilbert will be able to churn out billions of paper straws annually.

“We’re building a manufacturing facility that can expand up to about 20 billion paper straws, but we’re currently focused on about 5 billion annually,” he said.

According the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million drinking straws a day. That’s a rate of 1.6 straws daily per person.

Swope said his company has a goal of eliminating plastic straws, along with bowls and lids, and replacing them with paper products.

“We want to eliminate plastic right? And it’s just developing the product performance,” he said.

Footprint has manufacturing agreements with Walmart, Georgia Pacific and Foster Farms to make paper bowls and lids for prepackaged items.

Swope said the local workforce works well for the company.

“We’re finding that just hiring talent in Arizona is just so much easier than it has been across the country,” he said. “There’s tons of talent here.”

Footprint officials said that besides manufacturing, the facility on Germann Road near Gilbert Road will contain corporate offices and a lab.

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East Valley company aims to replace plastic straws with paper products