SMU Grads Combat Single-use Plastics Leveraging Agricultural Waste From Tequila Production

“We envision a world where zero-waste capitalism is possible and products that are used for seconds don’t last centuries.” – Dillon Baxter, co-founder of PlantSwitch


Photo via PlantSwitch

In February 2020, former SMU students and golfers Dillon Baxter and Maxime Blandin set out to solve a problem in the market for plastic alternatives and single-use items, low quality, and dependability. Their Dallas-based venture PlantSwitch is providing a solution to the soggy paper straw. As golfers, the duo witnessed the transition from plastic to paper straws on golf courses worldwide; the only problem is that using paper straws is not pleasurable, as you might have experienced. The feeling of paper on your lips from a straw that quickly becomes soggy makes it almost impossible to enjoy a beverage. PlantSwitch’s solution is a straw made with upcycled agricultural waste from tequila production that holds its shape and structure, later degrading 100 days after use.

According to the Be Straw Free campaign, Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. That equates to massive amounts of single-use plastic waste headed to our landfills and often to our rivers and oceans. Given this, a considerable market opportunity presents itself for sustainable alternatives.

PlantSwitch utilizes leftover agave fibers and fluids from tequila production to create a resin that they turn into a high-quality, biodegradable product. The plant-based material has been tested to degrade over 90 percent in the first 100 days and entirely within one to five years in simulated landfill conditions.

Baxter highlights that “landfills see little to no oxygen, making it near impossible for these alternatives to degrade. Our products are uniquely designed to degrade with or without oxygen, making them an ideal match for any environment.”

The company is currently only working with agave for their products but plan to utilize plants like hemp and flax in the future.

In a little over a year, PlantSwitch has grown from three B2B clients to 300, eliminating an astounding 10,000+ pounds of plastic waste every month. Furthering its mission, the company has recently launched B2C sales with hopes of landing shelf space in local grocery stores.

After growing by going door to door in Dallas – Fort Worth, PlantSwitch now boasts a client roster including Hillstone Restaurant Group, Vandelay Hospitality Group, Pebble Beach Golf Club, and Discovery Land Company. Their products are distributed by majors such as Sysco, Ed Don, Aramark, Imperial Dade, Bunzl, Ben E. Keith, and Performance Food Group.

PlantSwitch’s monthly revenue has experienced an increase of 350 percent since January 2021, reaching $1 million in annualized sales. They aim to raise $4 million in a Series A funding round, with $500,000 already secured.

Support this Dallas-based venture (and our environment) by purchasing their biodegradable straws and cutlery for your home or business.


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