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Are paper straws bad for the environment?

(Last Updated On: June 23, 2022)

Why is it that it is the paper straws that make them popular with people who want to contribute to protecting the environment? What makes someone try to save resources instead choose something that needs more processing and transport than metal or plastic? The answer might be less self-centred than you’d think.

Plastic straws can be harmful to the environment. They can take as long as 500 years to decay in landfills, and frequently end in our oceans in oceans, where they pose a threat to marine life. Therefore, it stands to reason that straws made of paper should be an eco-friendly option, wouldn’t it?

It’s true that straws made of paper aren’t really any better for the environment than plastic straws. They may even be more harmful to the environment. This is due to the fact that making paper straws consumes lots of energy and causes the release of greenhouse gasses.

Additionally, the production of straws made from paper leads to deforestation of forest habitats meaning that fewer trees can absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

This article examines whether straws made of paper are environmentally friendly as many people believe they are. Or, you can say they’re an answer to an issue that is much bigger?

The transition from plastic straws to paper straws:

What’s Behind It?

The movement to use straws made from paper is the result of two interconnected trends. The first that has been developing over the years has been a rising awareness of the environmental consequences of plastics that are disposable including straws. Another trend to watch is the rise of the so-called ethical buyer those who are willing to spend more for items that conform to their ethical standards.

Together these trends have resulted in a backlash against straws that are disposable. In some areas, the backlash has led to the banning of straws made from plastic. In other places, it has led to the change to straws made of paper.

The problems with paper straws:

A greener alternative, however, is not a green one.

Everybody is aware that paper straws are superior to plastic straws since they’re biodegradable. That’s at least the information we’re given. However, even though straws made of paper decay, there’s an opportunity that tiny animals may eat these small pieces of paper.

Furthermore, environmental concerns are raised concerning the manufacturing of straws from paper. The process of creating paper straws consumes a lot of energy and leads to emissions of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, the production of straws made from paper results in forest destruction meaning that fewer trees can absorb carbon dioxide from the air.

In addition, as with straws made of plastic, paper straws are single-use products that aren’t ideal for the environment since their production and demand will rise as time passes. It’s not difficult to understand how all these aspects create a less-than-ideal alternative to straws made of plastic when it comes to sustainability.

Why are paper straws not useful?

Did you finish your drink that fast to avoid the inevitable sour taste of a straw made of paper? They become mushy and bent extremely quickly, which means they’re likely to break before you’ve even had the time to drink your drink.

In addition, there is a bitter aftertaste that is hard to remove often. Paper straws tend to dissolve very quickly in beverages, which could render them unsuitable to use. The presence of liquids and moisture cause the straws to break and begin to disintegrate.

That means that if you don’t drink your beverage immediately, you’ll need to use a different straw, which is against the reason for using a straw made of paper initially.

So, Are Paper Straws Really More Environmentally Friendly Than Plastic Straws?

Answering this query isn’t simple. On the other side, paper straws have a lower environmental impact than straws made of plastic. However, the manufacturing of straws from paper takes lots of energy and can lead to deforestation of the forests.

In the end, whether straws made from paper are more environmentally green than plastic straws will depend on your perspective. If you’re conscious of the environmental impact of products that are disposable and straws made of paper, then they are better as opposed to straws made from plastic. If you’re more concerned about the effects on manufacturing processes, straws made from paper aren’t quite as effective as plastic straws.

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