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7 Alternatives to Plastic Straws

(Last Updated On: July 7, 2021)

As we all know, for today’s bar industry, it is more and more urgent to find new products to reduce the adverse impact on the natural environment, even as small as plastic straws.

Nowadays, if you want to replace the disposable plastic straws in cocktails, there are so many choices on the market. We have listed here 7 alternatives to plastic straws and help you analyze why they have advantages and disadvantages as alternatives.

This is perhaps the most popular alternative to plastic straws, and the best choice for many giants in the takeaway beverage industry. For example, Starbucks has replaced plastic straws with 100% recyclable paper straws in Shanghai and Shenzhen, and hopes to make it the standard choice for all Starbucks stores across China by the end of 2019.

Paper straws

paper straw from homestraw

Advantage

1. Convenience-this is the main reason why we rely so much on disposable plastic products.

2. The price is cheap.

3. If you really need to use disposable products, this is the most environmentally friendly choice. Most paper straws are biodegradable, and some can be composted.

Disadvantage

1. Paper straws will soon become soft when soaked in water, which may affect the drinking experience.

2. Many types of paper straws are still treated with plastic additives or dyed with unenvironmentally friendly colorants-not all paper straws are biodegradable.

3. The production of paper straws still consumes natural resources-after all, paper comes from trees.

Stainless Steel Straw

Stainless Steel Straw from homestraw

Advantage

1. Fashionable and elegant, charming temperament.

2. Extremely strong and durable—especially stainless steel straws—so it rarely needs constant updates.

3. The price is relatively reasonable and easy to buy.

Disadvantage

1. It is not easy to clean. Metal straws can be cleaned in a dishwasher, but they are often not cleaned enough, and hand-washing is quite time-consuming.

2. Some low-quality metal straws may produce a metallic taste in the mouth.

3. Glass straws are pretty cool-they are colorful and diverse in styles, and they are very suitable for sale in bars for consumers to take home.

Glass Straw

Glass Straw from homestraw

Advantage

1. Amazing appearance.

2. Because it is transparent, it is easier to clean than other reusable straws, because you can see if you have cleaned it properly.

Disadvantage

1. The most obvious point-glass is fragile. Therefore, the glass straw is easy to break and it is more difficult to store.

2. The price is higher-at least compared with other reusable straws.

Bamboo Straw

Bamboo Straw from homestraw

Advantage

1. Theoretically, bamboo straws are the most environmentally friendly choice-bamboo grows quickly, is easy to reproduce, and they can release oxygen before they grow into mature bamboo suitable for making straws.

2. 100% pure and natural-only need to polish the bamboo stem.

3. Many companies provide custom designs-you can print your own logo on the straw.

4. Tell the truth: sipping a tiki cocktail with a bamboo straw is so much cooler than a plastic straw.

Disadvantage

1. Not as durable as glass or metal straws-because bamboo will expand and contract in liquid, they will eventually crack.

2. Bamboo can only grow in certain places-if the bamboo straws are to be transported to a place half of the earth, it is contrary to the original intention of environmental protection. Fortunately, China is a paradise for bamboo.

3. It needs to be washed and polished manually to keep the bamboo straws clean and beautiful.

Silicone Straw

Silicone straw from homestraw

It has all the advantages of plastic straws, but it is not disposable.

Advantage

1. Soft, easy to bend, hardly cracked.

2. Very clean and hygienic, and can be cleaned thoroughly with a dishwasher.

3. Safe and suitable for children.

Disadvantage

1. Silica gel is still some kind of plastic.

2. It looks a bit ugly.

3. The price is slightly more expensive, second only to glass straws.

4. Silica gel is easy to stain after long time use-it is best to choose a dark silicone straw.

Wheat Straw

Wheat Straw from homestraw

Advantage

1. 100% biodegradable, compostable and all natural.

2. Although it is relatively thin, it will not become soft due to soaking.

3. They are by-products of wheat (we don’t need to spend extra time to make straw straws), just a little processing.

4. For high-traffic bars, straw straws provide the convenience of disposable straws, but the environmental impact caused by them is very low.

5. The straw straw is very cheap.

Disadvantage

1. Not strong enough-you may need to use a lot of roots.

2. The straw straw is very thin, sometimes you may need to add two to a glass of cocktail.

PLA Straw

PLA Straw from homestraw

Advantage

1. Under the correct environmental conditions, it can be recycled or composted.

2. Compared with traditional plastics, less fossil fuels are consumed in the production process.

Disadvantage

1. It looks no different from plastics, and it is not helpful in enhancing people’s awareness of sustainable environmental protection.

2. Bioplastic straws can only be decomposed under certain environmental conditions, usually with the help of industrial waste composting facilities, which are currently not available in most places.

3. If it is not properly composted, it may take several years for the bioplastic straws mixed in the landfill to decompose-once it enters the marine environment, the situation will be even worse because they cannot be decomposed in sea water.

4. They are harmful to wild animals-remember the turtle whose nostrils were blocked by plastic straws?

5. In the final analysis, unless you can collect every single-use decomposable straw in the bar and send it to an industrial waste composting facility for proper disposal, otherwise, they are no different from plastic straws.

6. Make creative use of plant scraps in your own kitchen and surrounding shops. For example, the Native Bar in Singapore uses the originally useless lotus stem of a local flower shop as a straw.

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