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The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Reusable Straws

The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Best Reusable Straws

Ready to ditch that plastic straw for something more sustainable? Good on you! There are many kinds of reusable alternatives on the market. But not all of them are as durable (or comfortable) as others.

Every day in the United States alone, we use 500 million straws. That’s enough to fill 127 school buses. Fortunately, we’re finally realizing the environmental impact of single-use plastic straws and are taking swift action for positive change. From eco-friendly individuals to corporations like Starbucks, and Bon Appetit, people are actively taking steps to reduce and eliminate plastic waste by banning plastic straws as the first step.  

From restaurants and airlines to cities and states, many places in the United States have already eliminated plastic straws altogether or implemented a policy to provide straws upon request only.

A reduction of plastic straws is good news for the environment. And, it has many folks embracing plastic-free straw alternatives.

However, while many individuals, schools, and businesses have opted for straw bans, it’s important to remember that some people with disabilities rely on straws for their survival. Those with swallowing or oral issues, facial palsy, injuries or disabilities, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions need straws to eat and drink.

So, whether you just love using straws or your life depends on them, we’ve put together a list of resources to help you find a sustainable option that works for you.

Picking Your Straw: Things To Consider

Beverages You Like

Some types of straws only work with cold drinks, so consider this when purchasing. If you need or want to use a straw with hot beverages, you’ll need a straw that won’t get too warm when placed in a hot drink.

Size

How long do you like your straw to be? Do you need a wider circumference so you can drink smoothies or other thick beverages? Take these needs into consideration when choosing a straw size.

Material

Our mouths are sensitive places! So, think about the material that feels best on your lips and tongue. We call this “mouth feel.”

End Of Life

The point of choosing a reusable is so less waste is created. So, make sure your straws' “end-of-life” (what happens when you’re done using it) is truly better. Finding items that are biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable are best.

The Four Most Popular Types Of Reusable Straws: Pros And Cons

Bamboo

Sustainable, reusable, and functional, there are a growing number of bamboo straws available. Choose wisely! Organic matters when you’re consuming hot and/or cold liquids. Of course, we’re especially partial to the bambu® brand! We can vouch that they’re made from 100% organic bamboo and are in fact the one and only bamboo straws on the market that are USDA Certified Organic. They even won the “Most Innovative Product” award in 2015!

Our organic bamboo is sourced in China from the largest bamboo forests in the world. Safe for hot or cold drinks, the bambu® set of 6 straws vary in diameter so you can choose the perfect one for a thick smoothie or a glass of lemon water. An all-natural sisal brush is included for easy cleaning. Or, pick short bamboo straws for drinking coffee, tea, or a cocktail. No matter which you choose, hand wash in warm, soapy water for a nice long lifespan.  

Pros:
  • Suitable for hot/cold beverages
  • Biodegradable
  • Long lifespan
  • Great mouth feel
  • Variety of lengths and thicknesses are available
Cons:
  • Not recommended for dishwasher

Glass

We like that glass straws are more environmentally friendly than plastic, but not that they aren’t biodegradable. Made of Pyrex, glass straws are nice and durable and shouldn’t easily crack or chip. They come in a variety of fun colors, tend to be a bit on the expensive side and while they work great for water or a soda, they aren’t large enough in diameter for a thick smoothie.

Pros:
  • Durable
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Suitable for hot/cold beverages
Cons:
  • Not biodegradable
  • Expensive

Silicone

Silicone is a newer material that looks and feels similar to plastic. Reusable silicone straws are flexible and soft, which can make them great for kids. However, the environmental repercussions of this material outweigh its benefits. Silicone is reusable, but it’s not recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable. This means that when you’re done with this straw, it’ll end up in the landfill, just like plastic.

Pros:
  • Flexible
  • Suitable for hot/cold beverages
  • Dishwasher safe
    Cons:

      Stainless steel

      While stainless straws help reduce plastic straw pollution, we just can’t get around the stiff, cold, hard mouth feel and how these can affect the taste of beverages. This is an eco-friendly alternative, but we prefer straws that have a more friendly feel.

      Pros:
      • Endlessly recyclable
      • Durable
      • Dishwasher safe
      Cons:
      • Unpleasant mouth feel
      • Can change beverage taste
      • Not ideal for hot beverages (metal will heat up)

      Why not use plastic-free disposables?

      This is a great question. After all, there are many plastic-free disposable straws on the market. But, disposable options can only go so far.

      To keep costs down, many restaurants are replacing plastic with single-use alternatives like paper, PLA Corn, and even pasta straws. Each of these are for cold beverages only, which doesn’t offer a complete solution. And there are other drawbacks, too:

      Paper is inexpensive but it’s flimsy. The most common complaint about paper straws is that they don’t hold up in a drink.

      Plant-based PLA corn plastics are biodegradable. But, they defeat the purpose by requiring high-temperature commercial composting systems. Commercial composting isn’t widely available, especially in more rural areas. So, these straws often end up in landfills– just like plastic.

      And, while pasta straws are 100% biodegradable, they only last about an hour in a cold beverage. For a long-term solution, this simply isn’t it.

      Instead of a disposable that’s slightly better than plastic, why not opt for a reusable one that’ll last for years? So, go ahead, and grab a few for your coffee runs, restaurant meet-ups, and meals on the go. You (and the planet) will be happy you made the green choice.

      Ready to experience the best reusable straws around? Shop USDA Organic, 100% bamboo straws.