Image via Unsplash | Jeff Sheldon
Plastic straw bans are becoming more prevalent—and for good reason. In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that 500 million plastic straws are used daily.
The once seemingly harmless single-use items are now among the top ten items collected in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup each year. This mass-scale pollution poses a serious threat because plastic never fully decomposes. Rather, it leaches toxins into already vulnerable ecosystems and threatens wild and marine life who mistake it for food.
So, in a conscious effort to cut down single-use plastic consumption, companies are listening to public concerns and coming to the forefront with a range of eco-friendly solutions.
This means you don’t need to go straw-free, you simply need to switch to an alternative.
Stainless steels straws are one of the most popular solutions to the plastic straw problem. You can find them in sporting good stores, health stores, grocery stores, and on Amazon. On average, they cost around a dollar or less. Many even come complete with colored silicone tops or in fashionable hues like gold and rose. You can even find foldable options.
Stainless steel is likely to last the longest on this list. These straws can be cleaned with a wire brush or in the dishwasher.
Glass straws make for a beautiful addition to any drink, especially on those hot summer patio days. You can find them in kitchen and cooking stores or by simply searching online from a variety of retailers. Slightly more expensive on average than stainless steel options, these eco-friendly straws are still budget-friendly.
And don’t worry, the glass is thick enough that it won’t break in your bag. You can clean them on-the-go with a wire brush or at home in the dishwasher.
Paper straws come in all sorts of fun colours, making them perfect for party and play-date settings. You can also buy them in bulk orders from party stores, dollar stores, or online for less than a penny per straw. When your guests are finished, simply add the used straws to your compost bin.
Bamboo is a readily-available sustainable material, so it only makes sense to transform the fibers into all sorts of plastic-free solutions. Bamboo straws are both reusable and biodegradable and can be purchased online for around a dollar a piece. They make a great addition to any lunch or travel kit.
Simply clean with a wire brush and keep dry when not in use to extend its lifespan.
Silicone straws are the most kid-friendly option on this list. They come in bright, neon colors and can be bent and twisted without worry. Plus, the material’s softness means it won’t cause dental damage if chewed.
You can find these in grocery stores, kids’ stores, and, of course, online. The average cost is around a dollar or two per straw. Simply toss into the dishwasher to properly sanitize.