10 ALTERNATIVES TO PLASTIC STRAWS
Updated: Jul 1, 2019
With Plastic Free July coming up, we've decided to round up a list of alternatives to plastic straws we've encountered.
STAINLESS STEEL (METAL) STRAWS
The good? Most commonly seen in eco-friendly cafes nowadays, stainless steel straws are a great reusable option (provided they are cleaned correctly!). Durable and light, they make a wonderful alternative to plastic straws. They are also dishwasher safe.
The bad? However, these straws are not heat resistant, and not too friendly towards individuals with seizures. Some have said that there's a metal taste to the straws as well.
The good? Another wonderful reusable option which is environmentally safe. Just like stainless steel, glass straws are dishwasher friendly as well but with the added advantage of being able to see the inside of the straw.
The bad? These options tend to be a tad pricier, and although most are made to be fairly sturdy, there is still the chance that the straw might shatter (it is glass after-all).
The good? This is a great option for kids who like to chew their straws. Since its bendable and flexible, silicone straws make for easy storage and makes for easy portability. These are also a safe reusable straw option for the disabled.
The bad? These straws might not be able to withstand heavy/violent chewers. Similar to stainless steel straws, these straws need to be cleaned thoroughly with a brush/soaking since the insides cannot be seen.
The good? Being one of the few 100% natural options around, bamboo straws are biodegradable and compostable. They are reusable as well; however, it has to be changed every now and then since it is a natural product.
The bad? These straws have to be cleaned thoroughly to prevent any bacteria from lingering on the inside. It should be noted that these straws do impart a woody taste while being used.
The good? Similar to the bamboo straws, reed straws are 100% natural and biodegradable as well. These straws are also compostable friendly and reusable. However, they are not as widely available as bamboo straws are at the moment.
The bad? The straws do have to be cleaned throughly to prevent bacteria growth, and would have to be replaced every now and then as well. These straws do impart a woody taste to the drink, but fades after the first few sips.
The good? Good old wheat straws, these were the original drinking straws back in time. 100% compostable, natural and biodegradable, these eco-friendly straws are the perfect alternative for hospitality outlets whereby single-use items are necessary for health and safety reasons. Wheat straws don't get soggy from drinks, and are suitable for both hot and cold drinks.
The bad? These straws start out a little brittle in the beginning, but as it get rehydrated from drinks, they become just as malleable as a normal straw!
The good? Making use of their resources, the Vietnamese have found an ingenious and sustainable way to make plastic free straws from grass. Just like wheat and bamboo, grass straws are 100% compostable and biodegradable.
The bad? However, these grass straws are only available in fresh form, meaning they have a short life span of approximately 2 weeks in the fridge.
The good? These sugarcane straws are compostable and they are very similar in texture in comparison to plastic straws. These straws are made mainly with leftover sugarcane pulp fibres and formed into a straw shape. Similar to wheat straws, they can withstand both hot and cold drinks without turning soggy.
The bad? Unfortunately most of these straws still contain PLA. Even though advertised as compostable, many fail to leave out the conditions under which these straws are compostable (certain level of humidity and temperature is needed for composting to happen).
The good? They are exactly like plastic straws. PLA straws, also known as Polylactic Acid straws, are straws made from renewable resources, such as sugarcane and cornstarch. They are said to be biodegradable and eco-friendly.
The bad? Unfortunately, even though these straws are marketed as biodegradable and eco-friendly, it's only true if the country has the facility to properly dispose of them; otherwise they are just like plastic straws, and would take an immensely long time to break down.
The good? By far one of the other most environmentally friendly option to single-use plastic straws, other than wheat straws. Since it's made from paper only, they do break down and compost after being left out in the open.
The bad? The most common complaint about paper straws... SOGGY MESS. It is also worth highlighting that some companies tend to use chemicals to prevent the straws from becoming soggy, so do check on the manufacturer before purchase.
Now that you're aware about all the different alternatives to plastic straws, go ahead and encourage your local cafe to switch your straw!
To get you started off on the right straw, Straw To Straw is offering a 10% discount off your entire purchase for the month of July in conjunction with Plastic Free July. Just key in "PLASTICFREEJULY" at the checkout to activate your discount!