Interview with CaliWoods

The interview series has returned, this time featuring a few eco-friendly businesses and their founders, making waves in the plastic pollution scene. Shay Lawrence is the inspiring founder of CaliWoods, a sustainable business producing reusable stainless steel straws. Gain a little insight into Shay’s plastic pollution journey below!

  • We live in a world where plastic is almost inescapable and where we as humans are leaving a heavy footprint at every corner. When did you realise that something had to change?

I realised something had to change with the plastic consumption when I started travelling outside of New Zealand; especially when I spent a bunch of time sailing on the open ocean. I went to places that you can’t really get to otherwise and was completely shocked to see plastic pollution follow us to otherwise pristine environments. Also going through Asia and Indonesia where the waste management systems aren’t in place and the rubbish is really in your face. It just makes you realise quite how much we are using and consuming everyday.

  • What is it like being an environmental entrepreneur and how does this differ to things you’ve done in the past?

Being an environmental entrepreneur has really given me a sense of purpose and drive to keep getting a positive message out into the public; to reduce plastic consumption and live more consciously.

I have done a bunch of diverse work in the past; an environmental science degree, surf instructing, working on super yachts. This is for sure the work that I’m most passionate about so I’m really grateful to have a business that straddles that social enterprise zone of both purpose and profit.


  • What has been your favourite moment in the CaliWoods journey and how does this represent what CaliWoods mean to you?

One of my favourite Cali moments would have to be when I started to see all the many people really getting on board with living with less waste. It has become a mainstream issue and real changes are happening which is so cool!

  • If you could leave readers with one takeaway on CaliWoods, plastic pollution or perhaps something different, what would it be?

To take power in small actions and keep reminding yourself that, yes, not using a plastic straw or plastic bag does matter and really adds up. Every small change you make is contributing to an overall shift in thinking and the collective impact is huge. If not you, then who?

  • If you were to sum up CaliWoods in one or sentence, what would it be?

Reducing single use plastic and inspiring positive change!

“CaliWoods exists because we believe there’s a better way to do things. We aren’t perfect, but we are working hard to make a sustainable life easier and exciting through awesome eco products, fresh ideas and motivating information.”

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