DENVER - When fifth-grade students Rebecca Roalson and Perry Honey Hochstadt wrote their letters to Steve's Snappin' Dogs, they didn't expect much of a response from the Colfax restaurant.
"I was kind of expecting them to read it and then think about it, but then never really do anything about it," Roalson said.
Their class was doing a project on waste and learned that people use millions of plastic straws each year that take space in landfills - and worse.
"Plastic straws can end up into the ocean and harm sea life," Hochstadt said.
When Steve's Snappin' Dogs owner Steve Ballas read the letters, he says his eyes were opened.
"I've got so much going on in my life right now and it's like, now I've got to answer this letter and I'm thinking how am I going to answer this letter?" Ballas said.
He answered by taking action. Ballas says he contacted his straw supplier and found out that for a penny more per straw, he can use straws that are compostable.
"You use it just like a regular straw, but it's made from plants," Ballas said. "It will break down and compost in the landfill area."
Friday afternoon, Ballas paid a visit to Teller Elementary School to tell Rebecca and Perry in person, as well as the entire fourth and fifth-grade student body that these kids made him make a major change.
"It made me feel that I did something to change the world," Roalson said.
Hochstadt says this might be the beginning of something bigger.
"Kind of mind-blowing to me, you know, because it makes me feel empowered, you know, that I can make these changes," Perry said.
Other businesses in Denver are following suit. A group of businesses along Tennyson on the west side of Denver have also taken up the cause.