Plastic straws have been a prominent part of the fast-food industry for decades. However, as eco-literacy increases, so does the awareness regarding the harmful impacts of these plastic instruments. In 2020, England issued a plastic straw ban in an effort to minimise the use of single-use plastics.
So, what alternatives can you refer to instead? Here are a few options to consider.
Paper straws are one of the most widely used alternatives to plastic straws. They’re made of organic materials (paper) that break down into smaller components when composted. Using paper straws helps users in lowering their carbon footprint. Since paper is manufactured from renewable materials, paper straws biodegrade easily and are eco-friendly options.
You may have observed paper straws being used in cafes, restaurants, and bars. These are fairly cheaper alternatives and don’t end up in the ocean after being used. However, there is a flipside to paper straws. They tend to get soggy and negatively affect the drinking experience. Many consumers also don’t like tasting paper pulp when sipping their drinks.
Moreover, paper straws aren’t durable. The longer they stay in a beverage, the more quickly they’ll deteriorate, especially when placed in hot liquids. This makes reusing paper straws almost impossible.
Metal straws are also popular alternatives to plastic straws. They’re usually made from either stainless steel or aluminium, and are super durable. They can be easily cleaned and aren’t structurally impacted by liquids, making them reusable.
While you can use metal straws with hot and cold drinks, you may not like the metallic taste of these straws in your mouth. Another flipside of metal straws is that they may pose a health risk as you may mistakenly bite your straw or it may scratch a surface inside your mouth.
Bamboo straws are yet another popular option. They’re made from sustainable and organic materials (i.e., bamboo), making them eco-friendly. You can easily clean organic bamboo straws with lukewarm water or keep them in a dishwasher. This allows you to reuse the straws as many times as you want to.
Bamboo straws are durable. They typically last several years if maintained properly. Moreover, they don’t add an unpleasant taste, making drinking through them a comfortable experience.