Kill the plastic straw addiction with these eco-friendly options.
BY AMANDA OGLE
Plastic straws suck – literally and figuratively. Americans alone throw away 500 million plastic straws each day. To paint the picture: 500 million straws would fill more than 125 school buses every single day. That’s 46,400 school buses a year – and it doesn’t even count the rest of the world.
Most of these straws end up in our oceans and threaten marine life with injury or death through entanglement and ingestion. Worse, as straws break down into smaller and smaller pieces over time, their petroleum compounds leak toxins and slowly poison the waters, entering the food chain and endangering yet more sea life that never came into contact with the original straw.
Multiple campaigns aim to end plastic straw usage: Some cities are banning them altogether, like Seattle, which is set to ban all plastic straws and dining utensils by July 2018. Many restaurants have voluntarily already banned straws now, and there is even a social media hashtag, #StopSucking, used by celebrities and participants involved in the movement.
Some hotels have taken a stand against plastic straws, like all of the Six Senses resorts, including Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman. And paper straws replaced plastic ones at Virtuoso’s annual luxury travel conference in Las Vegas this year.
Without a sustained effort, the amount of plastic in the ocean will outnumber fish by 2050. Once-beautiful reefs will be littered with pieces of plastic. If you can’t go strawless, consider these six great plastic straw alternatives – some even come with a travel-friendly carrying case and cleaner.
Durable and lightweight, metal straws won’t corrode, rust or break. Life Without Plastic’s stainless steel straw comes with an organic cotton carrying case and a cleaning brush. Buy a set of four for the family.
Glass straws provide another great multiuse option. Made in the U.S. from the strongest commercially available glass, Strawesome’s models come in multiple colors and designs, like multicolored dots. The company offers a lifetime warranty: Break it (a rare occurrence), and they’ll replace it free. Purchase one of their straws for a cause – a portion of each sale supports various organizations such as the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Save the Whales. Looking to buy in bulk? Check out this 6-pack with carrying case and bristle cleaner from A Better Straw.
Though not quite as strong as glass and metal, bamboo provides a great plastic alternative that lasts for years – plus, it’s biodegradable. Try these from Bambu, which come with a bristle brush.
Compostable, biodegradable paper straws are one-use-only, but they’re great for parties and large events – just don’t use them with hot beverages, as they tend to disintegrate fairly quickly. Most grocery stores stock paper straws in various designs, colors, and even holiday themes. Made in the U.S., Aardvark’s are the only paper straws to use 100 percent FDA and European Union food-grade approved materials.
They aren’t biodegradable, but silicone straws’ flexibility make them easy to carry in a purse or pant pocket without a carrying case. Most are dishwasher safe – just make sure they dry completely between uses. This Softy Straws set comes with four straws and a straw squeegee for easy cleaning.
Gasp! No straw? The most eco-friendly choice of all is giving up straws yourself. Tell your server you don’t need one when ordering your drink – once a straw hits the table, it’s considered trash and they most likely won’t take it back.