Straws have a lot going for them. Coupled with a lid, they prevent many a spill. For young children, using a straw can help them develop articulation and clarity of speech. Many people in the elderly and disabled communities find plastic straws, in particular, indispensable.
While straws definitely have their place in this world, single-use plastic straws do not have too many redeeming qualities (if any) for most of us. That’s why we should each consider our current straw usage strategy and see if we can offer ourselves a better alternative to plastic straws.
Here are some top picks!
You can pick up paper straws at any grocery store and many restaurants are now handing them out as an alternative to single-use plastic straws. Aardvark paper straws are widely deemed the best for a variety of reasons:
- They are made in the USA.
- They use safe dyes that don’t bleed (3rd party tested).
- They are the strongest, longest lasting on the market.
- It only takes 30-60 days to decompose.
- They are marine degradable.
- They can be customized.
“Join the Straw-volution and make an impact!”
Ditch the plastic straw and say Hay! to these 100% biodegradable straws that are made from natural wheat stems. Once the wheat plant reaches maturity and turns golden yellow, the grain is harvested off, leaving the stems. The best quality stems are hand selected and cut into drink-size lengths (about 8 inches). The straws then go through a rinsing process, are soaked three times with sterilized water, then air dried.
And, no. These gluten-free alternatives to plastic straws don’t get soggy.
Some people love using bamboo straws because they are all natural, organic, and biodegradable. Each 8” straw derives from a single bamboo stem, “unique in its own variance of color, thickness, and texture.”
Just be aware that this plastic straw alternative cannot go in the dishwasher and after some time, may splinter. So while they are do have a limited life, bamboo straws are still a good alternative for single-use plastic straws since they can be thrown in the compost bin when you’re done.
Silicone straws can be used over and over again which makes them a great alternative to single-use plastic straws. While there are a number of silicone straws on the market, Softy uses high-quality (and certified safe) silicone and high manufacturing standards. They have created straws that are safe to chew on, don’t collapse when drinking thick drinks, and come with a Straw SqueegeeⓇ cleaning tool.
Some people are nervous about using a glass straw, thinking it might break or shatter, but most glass straws are made from the same type of glass used for Pyrex dishes (borosilicate). This renders them shatter- and break-resistant. These straws are a favorite because of the slight bend in the top (for easy sipping) and because they can be used for both cold and hot beverages. Plus, some people swear that glass makes every drink taste better since you’re not left with a plastic-y flavor.
Many people love using stainless steel drinking straws as an alternative to plastic straws, although some don’t love their rigidity or very slight aftertaste. However, reviews for this set are overwhelmingly positive. Since they are extra long, they fit perfectly in reusable tumblers as large as 30 oz. They also help to keep your drinks fresh and cold.
While not yet available, this straw has promise. Designed to disappear, seaweed intelligence has been combined with innovative manufacturing methods to create the disposable “plastic” of the future. This straw is made from the world’s first “certified edible bioplastic.”
Other companies are making edible straws out of sugar, water, corn starch, bovine jelly, and other flavored substances. Or, perhaps, just head to the candy store and grab a bag of Twizzlers!
Alternative to Plastic Drinking Straws: The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that just because we’ve been using plastic straws for a few decades now, doesn’t mean we need to continue business as usual. There are so many great plastic straw alternatives that we can each choose which one we prefer and ditch the non-recyclable, non-compostable, non-biodegradable plastic straws that are filling landfills and oceans—for good.
Happy Sipping, from Spring Power & Gas!