As several cities take aim at reducing their carbon footprint by banning plastic straws, one company says there’s a new problem that could soon plague the U.S.: counterfeit reusable straws.
FinalStraw sought to create a collapsible, stainless steel straw that consumers could reuse. The straw even comes with a carrying case.
However, Emma Cohen, the company’s co-founder, told BuzzFeed News on Monday that counterfeiters flooding websites like Amazon and eBay are creating an issue.
“The whole purpose was to reduce waste,” Cohen said, adding the counterfeit straws created a “bigger waste problem.”
Searches across Amazon and eBay found that knockoff stainless steel straws were prevalent, according to BuzzFeed News. While FinalStraw intends to sell its item for $20 apiece, other places were selling theirs for $10.
Cohen and co-founder Miles Pepper reported more than 200 listings on Amazon, eBay and Alibaba were using FinalStraw's promotional photos to advertise the knockoffs.
FinalStraw doesn’t have a listing on these websites because its final product won’t be ready until November, according to BuzzFeed News. Those who have bought the counterfeit straws have complained to FinalStraw about their purchases falling apart.
“People are just genuinely confused,” Cohen told BuzzFeed News. “Some are angry and upset.”
Pepper said the company plans to go after the straw sellers after its trademark and patent applications go through.
The race for an alternative straw version was kicked off when cities like San Francisco and Seattle announced plans to reduce the use of plastic straws at restaurants.
San Francisco became the largest U.S. city last month to ban restaurants and retailers from providing customers with plastic straws. Businesses in the city will have to meet the new guidelines by January 1, 2020.
Disney and Starbucks have also announced plans to ban plastic straws.
Fox News’ Chris Irvine contributed to this report.