Plastic Straw Alternatives

Straws are huge right now. How can they not be? Save the turtles! I’ve seen the baby hatchlings scuttle across my home beach on their way to the ocean. It’s one of my favorite memories.

I live in Florida, and a lot of our restaurants on the beaches won’t give you a straw, or even offer them anymore. Yay for the little wins! At some restaurants, only if you ask, will they give you a plastic straw. Others have invested to get paper or cardboard ones to have when customers ask.

I find straws to be an interesting invention. I would much rather drink from the side of a cup than out of a plastic straw. For those that still enjoy using a straw and don’t want to worry about hurting our poor ocean animals, there are plastic straws alternatives. A lot, actually. There are bamboo, stainless steel, silicone, and even glass straw.

Bamboo Straws

Bamboo straws are simply bamboo! Bamboo is hollow so it makes for a natural straw once it is cut into a smaller piece.

It is 100% biodegradable and compostable. They typically are only good for 10-20 uses, and then they start to splinter.

They are perfect for drinking not so thick liquids, but they aren’t so perfect with smoothies or other thicker drinks. You can clean your bamboo straws, and all the straw alternatives, with a tiny brush to make sure you get all the way inside.

I just ordered my first set from Grove Collaborative. I am beyond excited to try it and let you know how it goes and how long it lasts. Mine even come with the tiny brush to clean them!

**Update** I received my Grove collaborative and will have a future post on what I think of everything. These are my bamboo straws (above). There were 6 bamboo straws of varying widths (my mom took one), a cleaning brush, and a cute travel pouch. A lot of my other items were packaged in plastic, but this was the only item that did not come wrapped in it. So far they’ve lasted me about 6 uses, no splintering or wear that I can see.

Glass Straws

Who would have thought of glass straws? When I first heard of glass straws, I imagined myself dropping it, as I took it out of the package and it shattering into a million pieces on my floor. Well, glass straws are a lot more durable than they sound. You can’t drop them on a hard surface and expect them to survive, but they can withstand very cold and very hot temperatures.

This is definitely not the best option for children, but glass straws definitely add some pizzazz to your everyday beverages. You can reuse them and reuse them until they break. If you happen to get sick of it before it breaks you can recycle it, but why would you get sick of such a cool straw?! Unlike bamboo, these are easy to see inside and clean if you’re a clean, germ freak like me.

The brand is Simply Straws and they have a lifetime guarantee. If it breaks, they’ll send you another!

During a recent trip into Whole Foods, I found these glass straws. No packaging, just a sticker on the side. They were priced at $5.99.

Silicone Straws

Now, the silicone straws are the best option for children and chewers. Chewers? As in, people who like to chew on their straws. Silicone straws are bendable and smooth. Plus, they don’t break easily.

They also allow people to chew on them unlike bamboo, glass, or steel straws. I, myself, am not a straw chewer, but my little brother is. He loves these things! He wouldn’t use the other options, so we tried this one. It was a hit!

These are also really great for either hot or cold beverages as the temperature of the straw doesn’t change too much. They are not biodegradable, though, which is a bummer. These silicone straws last a long time, a lot longer than a flimsy, plastic straw would. And no landfill waste!

Stainless Steel Straws

These straws are the most durable of all the straw options I have talked about. They are made out of stainless steel and are fully recyclable, although, they are known to last forever!

As cool as these straws can look, there are some cons. For example, unlike the silicone straws, these are not good for chewing. That would be a bit painful.

Also, they conduct heat, really well. So if you are planning to use your stainless steel straw to drink your morning cup of coffee, I strongly suggest against this straw. It will be way too hot.

These are the safer options, though as they are more durable than glass and bamboo. These are also a very good option for transporting to and from places.

Combination Straws

What is a combination straw, you might ask? I recently came across these cool guys. They combine the silicone straw and the stainless steel straw to make a one of a kind alternative! The bottom portion is durable stainless steel while the top portion (where you sip or chew) is made from silicone.

This helps if you drink hot beverages with a straw or if you enjoy mindlessly chewing on your straw. I think these are such a great problem solving invention. It’s the best of both worlds while saving the world.

Paper Straws

You’ve probably been to a restaurant, at this point, that offers you a paper straw, if you ask. I think this was a great way for restaurants to participate in the no straw movement.

For personal use, however, I am not a fan. It is still unnecessary waste we are creating and they don’t last very long. You can only have about one drink before they start getting mushy and gross. Most of the ones I’ve seen sold in stores are also sold in a plastic covering. What is the point of that?

Which Straw Will You Use?!

As you can see there are so many options for straws! My favorite is the stainless steel since I don’t chew more straws or drink hot drinks with them.

For those who do, I think the stainless steel with the silicone tips are perfect.

The bamboo is a nice option if you don’t mind replacing them constantly. I love that you can throw them right into your compost when they have outlived their lives.

The glass straws are a very elegant choice for adults. I think they are perfect for entertaining or when you want to treat yourself a little more special.

I’m curious what zero-waste straw you’re in love with. Comment below and let me know which alternative you will use.

9 thoughts on “Plastic Straw Alternatives”

  1. Very Interesting, especially about the combination straws. I think silicone straws would alleviate Americas cost on plastic and paper; just by simply having steel straws and silicone straws, due to the fact those raw materials are reusable.

    1. You are very right, Demeitre! Not only are we reducing the amount of resources we put into landfills, but also reducing the amount we produce. I think you should give the combination straws a shot! You may find you enjoy them a lot. They might even become a conversation starter if you use them while you are out and about.

  2. This was a really good article! I don’t usually drink out of straws at home, but my daughter does, and even though the plastic straws she uses are not the disposable kind, I still find them frustrating to clean. They’re standard straw width – too small for a brush – so I have to push Q-tips through.

    I’m going to pick up some of the stainless steel straws, those should work for us since none of us really use straws for hot drinks. Do you know if those come in a wider size so they can be cleaned with a brush? If not, at least they can go in the dishwasher.

    Thanks for all this info, it’s really useful.

    1. There’s actually this little brush that fits perfectly for straws. I’ve seen some on Amazon, and my bamboo set came with one. Check those out. Maybe you can continue to use the plastic ones if you can clean them properly.

  3. I agree that reducing plastic straw use is very important. I am glad that people are becoming aware of how bad they are for the environment and that more options are becoming available. Before reading this, I had only ever heard of paper and stainless steel straws. I think I would prefer a glass straw because you can use them for all different types of beverages and you can see inside to make sure they are clean.

  4. Straws are becoming a huge ordeal. Definitely something to consider when it comes to how it negatively affects our planet and the things that live upon it.
    Was not aware of all the alternative out there, but depending on the person, one is without a doubt better than the other. Choosing one way over the old plastic ones doing damage, would be a start.
    Nice post. Keep’ em coming

  5. I didn’t know there were so many alternative to plastic straws! I don’t use straws but the bamboo ones are very attractive to me because of their natural look. Like you, I care about the environment and knew that plastic straws like anything plastic made are a huge waste poluting issue for our planet. I am glad to hear that they are ways to solve the problem for those who use them. That is very informative and helpful!

    1. Wonderful! There are alternatives to almost everything plastic that we use. It’s just not as convenient yet. I think one day it will be, though. We are heading in the right direction!

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