8 Alternatives to Plastic Straws
While out to eat the other night, our server noticed my stainless steel straw that I brought with me to dinner. She thought it was really great I was trying to avoid plastic straws but said it wouldn’t be possible for her to do the same since she doesn’t like the taste of metal… To her surprise, I listed off several alternatives to plastic straws other than stainless steel. We are so lucky to live in a time when there are plastic free options for everyone’s tastes. There’s no excuse not to kick the plastic straw habit, especially when in the USA alone we use roughly 500 million disposable plastic straws per day!
Of course let’s start with my all time favorite alternative to plastic straws – stainless steel! Switching to metal straws was one of my first zero waste swaps years ago. They’re a hardy alternative that will last and last. And listen, if you’re worried about the cleanliness of your straws, most sets of stainless steel straws come with a little brush to clean out the insides of the straws. I also like to boil my metal straws every few weeks for extra cleanliness. You can carry your straws in a little pouch like this one pictured, or I also like to wrap my in a cloth napkin/bandana and carry in my bag.
Runner up for my favorite alternative to plastic straws is bamboo! Yep, that’s right, reusable straws made of bamboo!! Theses guys are a great option if you have little ones. They’re durable like the stainless steel straws but also you don’t have to worry about kiddos injuring their mouths with these. Most sets come with a cleaning brush as well.
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To be completely honest, I have never tried glass straws. I know a lot of zero waste friends swear by them though. Some say they like glass reusable straws because their transparency makes it easier to be sure they’ve cleaned them well. I’m super clumsy so I worry, I’d be breaking these left and right. I like the look of these straws but I’ll be sticking to my stainless steel straws for now 🙂
Silicone reusable straws are another great option for little ones. I love that these straws come in all sorts of beautiful colors! You could grab a set of these silicone straws and then each member of the family could have their own particular colored straw.
Ok, so you’re planning a backyard BBQ and you really need some sort of disposable straw, because you don’t want to buy 30 straws to share with friends. Opt for paper straws! No, they’re not endlessly reusable like most of the other options on this list. However, they are great when you really need straws for a crowd. I’ve even seen quite a few restaurants that have switched over to paper straws instead of plastic. I love that more places are incorporating environmentally friendly practices into their businesses!
I’ve seen some reusable cups have a reusable plastic straw included. These work great too. You still might want to see if you can find a tiny brush to clean the inside of them, or you could probably use a pipe cleaner. If you already have a plastic straw at home, rather than purchasing something new, just stick to the one you have.
I think this one will surprise you! Did you know there are straws made from straw, as in hay?! Bizarre, I know! These natural straws are another great alternative to plastic straws. They’re made from wheat stems, which would otherwise go to waste. (How about that for zero waste?) Once the wheat is harvested, they take the stems and rinse them three times and then cut them to size. This is another great backyard BBQ option like paper straws. *Added bonus, these straws don’t get soggy after a while.
My go to option when we are out and about is to go strawless. You don’t have to buy reusable straws to avoid plastic disposable straws. You can opt out of plastic straws right now! Just mention to your server that you don’t need a straw when ordering your drink. Avoiding disposable plastic straws is one of the first steps towards zero waste!