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 straws pollution problem is much bigger than you might think, which is why major companies, including Starbucks, Disney, Alaska Airlines, Hilton, and Royal Caribbean, have made the decision to discontinue or limit 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? Say “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. (And a lifesaver for parents with young children!) Fortunately, there are a wide variety of natural and environmentally safe alternatives to plastic straws.
Reusable Alternatives to Plastic Straws
Reusable stainless steel straws can’t be beat for cold beverages. I own a few myself and use them to sip on my after-lunch ice coffee.
Assorted, with Silicone Tip
- Yihong Life‘s assorted pack of metal straws will cover all your sipping needs. The silicone tip is a perfect addition. Comes with case and cleaning brushes. 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
Yihong 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.
- Tavas Eco angled straws are wonderfully flexible and made from vegan materials. I love the assorted, bright colors to make sipping fun for all ages. The company donates 10% of the profits to social and environmental non-profits. Includes a cleaning brush. Dishwasher safe.
- Softy Straws are also convenient as fold-able 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.
Hiware‘s 12″ straws fit easily into extra tall cups and travel mugs.
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. An added 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 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 a 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 food service 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 their 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.
Eco-Products PLA straws are certified compostable and come in different styles and colors.