Marina gets seriously sustainable

Can one straw make a difference? Listen to the This is Small Business podcast to hear how Marina Tran-Vu, founder of EQUO International, believes one small decision can have a big effect on the environment.

When Marina moved to Vietnam to help her family in 2019, she only planned on staying for a year. But then the pandemic struck—and so did inspiration.

Marina visited a lot of different cafes and coffee shops during her early days in Vietnam, and noticed the straws in her drinks were often made from sustainable materials, like grass. Curious about the history of these straws, she began to do her research.

“I found out that these products existed for a very long time, but when you take a look at the market share of sustainable straws it was less than 0.1% market share at that time,” Marina said. “That’s what led me down the path of building a brand that would be eye-catching, to educate consumers on the different sustainable materials that are out there and make sustainability fun.”

Marina founded EQUO International, a brand that provides 100% plastic free and compostable solutions for everyday single use items. EQUO International uses materials like grass, rice, coconut, sugar cane, and coffee to replace anything that is traditionally made to be single use, such as straws, utensils, or bags.

After speaking with Marina, podcast host Andrea Marquez interviews Shannon Kenny, AKA “Mama Eco.” Shannon consults small- to medium-sized businesses and helps them realize the sustainable opportunities they can take as they scale, like sourcing sustainable packaging, and switching their website over to a “green” web hosting company.

Building a sustainable company goes beyond having a sustainable product. Listen to episode six of This is Small Business to learn how Marina and Shannon think about sustainability across aspects of building a small business, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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