Whats the Best Reusable Straw? [2019 Guide]
Before we get started, it’s no secret we have our own (pretty awesome) reusable straws available so we may be a little biased, with that said we know there’s positives and negatives to all the different straw types depending on your needs and preferences.
If you’re wondering if you should get a pack of paper straws, a collapsible straw you can attach on your key ring or steel straws look no further, we’ve got the answers! We’ll be covering each straw type, the positives and negatives and where you can find some of our favourite options.
But first, what’s the big deal with straws anyway? Surely there’s larger sources of plastic pollution out there. Whilst that’s true, by mass plastic fishing nets account for 46% of all plastic waste in the pacific garbage patch is made up of discarded fishing nets, dwarfing the amount created by staw use, straw use is still a problem and one you can do something about today!
The volume of plastic waste associated with straws is astronomical with estimates of over 500 million being used in the US alone, clearly a figure too high to be ignored.
Reusable straws have captured the public's imagination and become the figurehead of all things “zero-waste” and with that 10s of varieties have sprung up, each bringing their own unique attributed to the table.
One quick search on Amazon or google will reveal tonnes of different types: there’s silicone, pasta, glass, collapsible, steel, bamboo and more, but which is right for you? Let’s find out.
Silicone is a polymer, much like plastic but instead of containing repeating units of carbon, it instead contains repeating units of Silicon. Some favourable properties of Silicone include that it can withstand high temperatures, is non-toxic, pliable and maliable.
This makes it a great choice for children and people with disabilities as silicone straws can be chewed without damaging teeth and don’t conduct the heat from hot drinks like steel or glass straws.
In terms of an eco-friendly choice, silicone may left more to be desired. Silicone is derived from the same petrochemicals used in the plastics industry and has many similarities to plastic in it’s properties, the way its produced and the lack of biodegradability.
Many zero-wasters opt to avoid silicone for this very reason.
Bamboo straws are simply off cuts of bamboo, cleaned and trimmed to make the perfect simple eco-friendly straw! On a base level they have the lowest footprint of any variety of straw featured here and make a great sustainable choice.
Some negatives of bamboo straws include an odd taste, limited lifespan due to being plant based and the potential of supping some soil along with your drink (ew!)
Glass can be produced in a pretty resource efficient way and is made from an abundant resource (sand) making it a pretty sustainable choice. It's also very widely recycled and is totally inert meaning you won’t get chemical nasties leaching into your drink like plastic straws.
Glass straws can also be some of the prettiest and most ornate, check out some cute hand blown glass straws here.
The downsides of glass are pretty obvious, due to being brittle, glass straws aren’t the best to store in your draws, take with you or for kids to use! Simple mishaps can result in broken glass.
They’re certainly beautiful but not always the most practical.
Collapsible straws are the most “viral” choice here, with companies like final straw capturing the public's imagination and having record breaking fundraising campaigns.. They certainly have the cool factor and can be pretty practical, collapsing down and into a tiny case you can attach to your keys.
They are great for those who always want to have a straw on them and without a doubt make a conversation piece. Collapsible straws also a bit of a gimmick and some can be pretty leaky.
Unfortunately, due to their complexity they are one of the more unsustainable choices, they consist of multiple components and are a mix of materials, where there’s more complexity in design there’s more pollution is production and they can be a real nightmare to recycle.
Steel straws are what we opted for at Soseas HQ, well you did really! After polling our customers you guys decided it was steel straws you wanted so that’s what we went for.
Steel straws were a great choice as they last forever with care.
We wanted to go against the grain with most straws that ultimately lead to disposal by going with stainless steel, not only are they hardy but they’re portable too, each pack of straws come with a free linen carry case and plastic-free cleaners but they’re dishwasher friendly too.
Despite all these positives steel straws might not be the best for children or those with disabilities although they are toxin-free and hand polished, so feel great in your mouth.
Steel production is also energy intensive so for these straws to be sustainable we’re relying on you guys to use them for years to come,, that’s when they really benefit from the carbon payback and can start to rival even bamboo straws in terms of sustainability!
Paper straws are quickly becoming a popular substitute for plastic straws for restaurants and caterers and i'm sure many of you have already come into contact with paper straws in your everyday lives.
Some positives to paper straws include the fact they can biodegrade in no time at all (1-2 months in the composter and 6 in salt water), they also come in some pretty neat designs and all in all could make a great alternative to businesses wanting to make the switch from plastic!
They may not be the best choice for home users though as they tend to be non-reusable and only last a single-use, they quickly become soggy and due to being food soiled can’t be recycled either.
Hoepfully this rundown of the 6 most popular straw types lets you make an informed decision when it comes to finding the right straw for you, let us know what straws are your favourite by leaving a comment below.
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