Emma Rose Cohen’s Reusable Straws Promote Sustainability
Although (most) adults have outgrown peek-a-boo, the object permanence game that baffles and delights babies, when it comes to trash, the out-of-sight, out-of-mind concept still reigns. It’s something Emma Rose Cohen ’09 finds distressing and prompted her to found Final., a company with a mission of creating “reusable Foreverables,” including the FinalStraw.
A New Mexico native, Cohen went to UC Santa Barbara to study science, where her interest in eliminating environmental waste was sparked. “I remember walking the streets of Isla Vista,” she said in a 2018 TED talk. “I couldn’t help but notice how much trash was everywhere. Even though I was surrounded by people striving for higher education…we weren’t acting in congruence with our beliefs.”
Cohen’s frustration led to advocacy work. She and her fellow students did beach clean-ups (dressed as mermaids, naturally) and raised their pollution concerns at Santa Barbara City Council meetings. Finally, they founded the nonprofit Save the Mermaids, which educates kids about the negative impact of single-use plastics on the environment.
Cohen received her BS in 2009 intending to pursue a career in neuroscience. However, a post college trip to Thailand, where the country’s gorgeous white beaches were littered with straws, saw her abandoning medicine for environmental conservation. She focused her energies on creating a sustainable drinking implement. The result? FinalStraw, a reusable, collapsible, portable, stainless-steel straw. Cohen tackles the serious issue with cheeky fun — watch her delightful YouTube video— making it pretty irresistible to not purchase a FinalStraw of your own. (Mine will arrive soon.) It’s a great, practical way to help the planet — and the sea turtles will thank you.