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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.