Gilbert company ditches plastic, uses paper to make straws

GILBERT, Ariz. (KSAZ) - It's a movement we're seeing across the country, and now, we're seeing it here in the Valley -- eliminating plastic.

Sustainable technology manufacturer, Footprint in Gilbert, designs and develops what they call the "next generation" for packaging and supply solutions.

"We focus a lot on biodegradability, decomposability, and recyclability," Jeff Bassett said. "Those three metrics... to create something that's better for the planet."

Taking items that typically go to a landfill, Footprint turns materials we use everyday, like plastic straws, bowls, and Styrofoam, into Earth-friendly products.

"We start with essentially paper products, we start with... it can be a mix of paper, and then we turn that into a slurry," Bassett said. "We run this through a giant blender that cuts that paper up, turns it into a pulp slurry, and then we'll put that in our manufacturing line, which is behind me here. That allows us to create a wide range of shape anywhere from ready-to-eat containers, to oatmeal, mac n' cheese cups. Replacing plastic, getting it into basically any shape that we want."

The now eco-friendly packaging and supply solutions are replacing plastic materials used on the market, while creating hundreds of jobs at the company in Gilbert.

"From packers and stackers to forklift operators to quality and then we're also going to have a major research and development facility for us too," Bassett said. "We're also looking for a lot of high-level engineering and Ph.D.'s at the same time."