I know … you’re probably wondering, why all the fuss about straws? Why the need to find reusable alternatives to plastic straws? Unfortunately, the plastic straw pollution problem is much larger than you might think, which is why major companies, including Starbucks, Disney, Alaska Airlines, Hilton, and Royal Caribbean, have decided to discontinue or limit the usage of single-use plastic straws.
Recognizing that this is a mounting environmental – and cost – issue, numerous cities, states, and even a country (United Kingdom), have passed laws restricting plastic straw usage by food establishments.
Do all these efforts solve our ever-increasing buildup of plastic pollution? No, but it does help. And it also helps raise awareness about this intensifying waste crisis.
Most importantly, it encourages consumers to change their reliance on single-use consumer items by making a very simple change in their daily habits.
What’s the best solution to plastic straw pollution? Saying “no, thanks!” to straws. But what if you want a straw, whether at home or when you’re out? And for some, particularly those with disabilities, straws are essential (not to mention, a lifesaver for parents with young children). Fortunately, there are a wide variety of natural and environmentally safe reusable alternatives to plastic straws.
Reusable Alternatives to Plastic Straws
- Yihong Life’s assorted pack of antibacterial metal straws will cover all your sipping needs. Each set contains 10 metal straws, including long, straight, bent, and short, and silicone tipped options. It comes with cleaning brushes and a case. Dishwasher safe.
- Klean Kanteen is another popular brand with a silicone tip.
Short Straws for Cocktails, Mason Jars, Kids’ Cups
- Mason Jar Lifestyle‘s short, thin metal straws come in a straight or bent version. They’re elegant and look great in your cocktail!
- Try Mason Jar Lifestyle’s version with a rounded end and locking tab for kids’ cups or mason jars.
Seatore reusable metal straws are BPA and lead-free and fit 30 oz tumblers. They come with a cleaning brush but are also dishwasher safe.
Extra Wide for Thick Drinks
CocoStraw makes it easy to sip your bubble tea or smoothie with these extra-wide 12mm metal straws. Includes a cleaning brush. Dishwasher safe.
Portable Reusable Straws
Final Straw reusable straws are perfect for when you’re out and about. Billed as “the original reusable collapsible straw”, these straws fold into their own tiny travel case (made from recycled plastic). Includes a cleaning brush and cord to attach to a key chain. So handy!
Reusable silicone straws are very popular for their bendable properties and their ability to withstand heat. With their colorful styles, they’re a popular choice for kids. Look for straws that are 100% food-grade silicone and BPA-free.
- Hiware straws are wonderfully flexible and come in a variety of sizes and bright colors. They come with two cleaning brushes and a travel pouch. Dishwasher safe.
- Softy Straws are also convenient as foldable reusable straws. Pop them in your bag or purse. They include an innovative squeegee straw cleaning tool to keep your straws squeaky clean. Dishwasher safe.
StrawExpert adds a bit of softness to metal straws with their set of 16 silicone-tipped straws that come in a variety of different sizes. The different-colored tips can easily be used as identifiers for your family. They come with four cleaning brushes and a travel pouch.
How clever – a straw for your coffee! KoffieStraw is specifically designed for sipping hot beverages. The angled, slim opening prevents hot liquid from flooding into your mouth. A bonus: their packaging is home-compostable. Includes a cleaning brush. Dishwasher safe.
I love the look of glass straws and they’re usually dishwasher safe. How convenient!
- Korsreel Reusable Bent Straws are handmade in a variety of colors. They can withstand any temperature. Shatter-resistant and BPA-free.
- Hummingbird Bent Glass Straws look delicate but are actually shatter-resistant. They come with a cleaning brush but are also dishwasher safe.
Wide for Thick Drinks
Teenie Greenie Wide Glass Straws are made of the strongest commercially available borosilicate “Pyrex” glass. Their 12 mm opening makes it easy to enjoy thick drinks. The colored tips help you distinguish your drink from the rest. Dishwasher safe.
Strawsome Designer Straws. I stumbled across these gorgeous glass straws with intricate, unique designs. You can even design your own. A perfect gift idea and I plan to purchase a bunch. They’re pricey but beautiful.
While bamboo may not have the durability of other materials, they can be washed and reused. They’re also a good option for hot drinks. I’m not partial to the texture of bamboo straws, but you judge for yourself!
- Buluh straws are grown organically and are biodegradable. They come with their own cleaning brush and cotton carry case.
- Bali Boo bamboo 8″ drinking straws come in a set of 12 and will look so festive in your tropical drink! I love the pineapple cotton pouch. Includes two cleaning brushes.
What About “Biodegradable” Straws?
There are quite a few options in this category, but I have two thoughts on these alternatives to single-use plastic or reusable straws:
- They’re single-use, so you’re going to throw them away after one use. Reusable alternatives to plastic straws are always best.
- You need to be sure whether, once you’ve used them, they truly biodegrade.
Still, if you’re having a crowd over, or if you’re looking for bulk reusable straw options these are a great substitute to the plastic version.
Aardvark is the trusted source for paper straws.
Most of their products are geared for foodservice operations, but they created a special paper straw with a sea turtle theme to raise awareness about the importance of marine conservation. Aardvark donates 15% of its sea turtle straw sales to the South Carolina Aquarium Sea Turtle Care Center.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is made from sugarcane or corn starch. If properly certified as such, PLA straws are compostable, but only in a commercial compostable facility. That means if these straws are thrown in the garbage or left as litter, they’re no different than regular plastic straws and can take years to break down. In short, they may not be the best reusable alternatives to plastic straws.
Eco-Products PLA straws are certified compostable and come in different styles and colors.