Plastic straws may be small, but the negative impact they can have on the environment is a huge problem. Their compact nature makes them difficult to recycle, and it is estimated that 8.3 billion straws end up polluting the world’s beaches. Fortunately, people are starting to recognize the severity of this issue, and using alternatives to plastic straws has turned into a movement.
With so many plastic straw alternatives on the market right now, deciding what type will work best for you can be a challenge. We removed the guesswork and tried six alternatives to plastic straws so you don’t have to! Skip the trial and error and purchase the best straw for you.
Reusable straws are an excellent alternative to plastic because, as their name suggests, you can use them more than once! This sends fewer straws to landfills and cuts down on manufacturing and packaging waste, too.
1. Stainless Steel Straws
Sturdy and cost-effective, stainless steel straws are a great option for many reasons:
- You can pair stainless steel straws with tumblers and other cups designed for on-the-go drinking. Just make sure the straw’s length and width will fit your cup!
- Of all the straws we tried, these were the most durable and the easiest to maintain.
- Stainless steel straws can be washed in the dishwasher. You will want to wash them frequently, so we recommend Cascade Platinum ActionPacs to make sure they are sparkling clean.
- Stainless steel straws are sensitive to temperature. They become hot in hot drinks and cold in cold ones, so be careful before you take that first sip!
- While they will last for quite a while, stainless steel straws are not biodegradable, compostable or recyclable.
2. Collapsible Silicone Straws
This straw option is perfect for the sipper on the go. Consider these other
factors as well:
- Silicone is a long-lasting material, so you’ll likely be making a good investment.
- They are a good choice if you have sensitive teeth.
- They’re lightweight and bendable.
- They often come with an adorable carrying case.
- While durable and long-lasting, silicone straws are not biodegradable and are not easily recyclable.
3. Bamboo Straws
Bamboo straws have a unique look that makes a mundane task like sipping interesting. Here are a few things to consider if you think bamboo straws are for you:
- In addition to being reusable, bamboo straws are also biodegradable.
- Much of the bamboo grown for bamboo straws is grown organically.
- If you like to drink your hot drinks through straws, bamboo is a great option.
- We detected a slight bamboo taste when sipping drinks through these straws.
- Most bamboo straws aren’t portable or adjustable, so it can be a bit inconvenient to transport them.
- Bamboo straws won’t hold up well in the dishwasher, so it’s best to wash them by hand. For a gentle clean that will still remove sticky residue, wash them with Dawn Antibacterial Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap.
The disposable straws on our list are either biodegradable (which means they can break down in a landfill, unlike plastic) or compostable (which means they can break down in a compost bin).
4. Paper Straws
When a restaurant stops offering plastic straws, paper varieties are typically their go-to, but is paper the best choice for you? Consider these factors first:
- Paper straws are biodegradable.
- They are cheaper than most other straw options.
- They are convenient and can be thrown away after each use.
- A typical pack comes with many straws, so you don’t have to buy them often.
- They tend to break down quickly in liquid (especially carbonated beverages).
5. Plant-Based Straws
If you prefer a traditional straw without any frills, these might be the
next best thing to plastic. Check out our pros and cons before you decide:
- They are made from plant-based plastic, so these straws are compostable.
- Plastic alternative straws are sturdy and convenient, much like a regular plastic straw.
- Plant-based straws should only be used in cold drinks.
6. Pasta Straws
What’s better than digging into a big bowl of pasta? Helping out the Earth! Sadly, despite the environmental benefits, this straw option comes with quite a few downsides — so be sure to read on before you sip.
- Pasta straws are biodegradable and can be composted after you finish using them. (You can even eat them if you want!)
- Pasta straws vary in size, so be sure to choose the right thickness depending on what you are drinking.
- They can only be used in cold drinks.
- These straws definitely taste like pasta, which could affect the taste of your drink.
- They get soggy if left in liquid for too long.
No matter which straw you choose, rest easy knowing that you’re making a positive impact on the environment. Sometimes, the smallest choices can make a world of a difference.
Which plastic straw alternative would you like to try? Tell us in the comments!