Bamboo Straws Vs. Plastic Straws

(Last Updated On: December 7, 2022)

As consumers, we consider our convenience and budget when making our daily purchases. This rule of thumb applies to products that are made by all types of industries. The food industry in particular. However, consumerism and human priorities are ever-changing.

With a spotlight on integral issues, such as climate change, consumers are becoming more conscious. We have become more aware of the impact that our daily lifestyle has on the environment. Therefore, sustainability is a factor that is held in high regard nowadays. So, you will see a vast amount of people pitting sustainable products against products that aren’t eco-friendly.

The Debate on Straws

One of the most important debates is the great straws debate. It is one where a single type of straw is compared to another type. However, this debate revolves mainly around the removal of single-use plastic straws from our daily life.

As consumers have become more aware, you will see this debate more often. The great thing is that people are now switching over to alternatives, mainly eco-friendly straws. These types of straws are now being used as alternatives.

These alternatives include a variety of reusable straws. You will see bamboo straws, stainless steel straws, paper straws, glass straws, silicone straws, and more all over the market today. One reusable straw that is particularly popular is the bamboo straw.

Bamboo Straws Vs. Plastic Straws

Each type of straw will suit a different set of consumers. This is because each straw has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Consumers are also known to value various characteristics of each type of straw.

When looking at two products side by side it is important to do a deep dive. Particularly when trying to decide which choice is the better one. Only through this deep dive will you be able to understand which product is a better fit for you.

When doing so, it is essential to look at all of the characteristics of both products. Factors, such as their impact on the environment, their functionality, accessibility, and more are incredibly important. So, let’s dive into the debate of bamboo straws versus plastic straws.

What Are They and How Are They Made?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of it all, let’s start with the basics. What exactly are they and how are they made?

What Are Bamboo Straws?

A sustainable, organic, compostable, and 100% biodegradable option, bamboo straws are a type of reusable straw. These straws first hit the market in the year 2012. They were introduced as a sustainable solution to the plastic straw problem. Bamboo straws, as the name suggests, are plant-based straws, which makes them an eco-friendly straw option. This also makes them a great BPA-free option that is free of toxic chemicals.

Bamboo Straws

How Is A Bamboo Straw Made?

Of course, it doesn’t take a whole lot of brain power to figure out that bamboo straws are made from the bamboo plant. Although, it is important to know how exactly is it made to understand how natural and sustainable the straw is.

The process of making bamboo straws is incredibly sustainable. A bamboo straw is made using organic, natural bamboo that comes directly from the bamboo plant. It is essentially a flowering plant, which you can find easily in nature, mainly in forests. Once a bamboo plantation has grown to its natural capacity, it is considered ready to be harvested.

Once the farmers are done harvesting it, the harvest is washed in hot boiling water. This allows the plant to be sterilized before it is dried. Since the bamboo plant has a natural hole running through the middle, there isn’t much processing required. So, all that is left for the bamboo is for it to be handcrafted into bamboo straws.

Advantages of Using Bamboo For Straws

Make Durable and Reusable Bamboo Straws

Bamboo straws are plant-based. In fact, the bamboo plant is one that grows in wet and humid locations. So, it is greatly resistant to liquids and does not break down easily. The water-resistant properties are also transferred onto the handcrafted straws as well due to the lack of processing. This is why reusable bamboo straws are durable and able to maintain their integrity.

Free of Chemicals

The bamboo plant itself does not require any pesticides or chemicals. So, this reusable straw is free of toxic chemicals. This is definitely not the case for plastic products.

Sustainable

The bamboo plant, if not taken out of the soil, has the ability to regrow. This means that farmers do not need to replant bamboo plants over and over again. So, the fertility of the soil is not hampered with each harvest. Since bamboo plants are also harvested from forests, their ability to regrow does not contribute to deforestation.

What Are Plastic Straws?

Plastic straws are non-biodegradable straws that you can purchase all over the world. These straws are single-use straws, which means that they do not fall within the category of reusable straws. They are most often seen in fast food chains, cafes, and other types of eateries.

Plastic straws

Plastic straws were once a very convenient product. However, due to their nature, they have since become a nuisance on our planet. These throw-away straws create a significant amount of waste by filling up our landfills. This pollution is driven by one factor, that is, the material used for their construction.

What Are Plastic Straws Made Of?

We all know that plastic straws are made of plastic. However, only a few of us understand what plastic actually is. The plastic used to make these straws is a smooth polymer, most commonly polypropylene. This is essentially a fuel, which is made up of atoms of carbon and hydrogen and requires an entire chemical process.

Disadvantages of Using Plastic For Straws

Not Eco Friendly

Plastic is known to have devastating effects on our planet. This is largely due to the fact that the polymer used is not biodegradable. So, instead of degrading into nature, like bamboo, it will instead break down into microplastics.

Non-Reusable Straws

Since these straws are not reusable straws, you will find a large quantity of them in production. This will also create a large amount of waste on a daily basis. Since the plastic will not degrade naturally, these non-reusable straws will accumulate over time in landfills.

Their Impact on The Environment

A straw will either be eco-friendly or not eco-friendly. Its impact on the environment depends on the material that it is made from. Both bamboo and plastic straws have a significant impact on our planet. However, the only difference is that while one is in a positive way due to its organic nature, the other is completely vicious.

Plastic straws

Bamboo Straws

Reusable bamboo straws do not negatively impact the environment. In fact, bamboo straws as being environmentally friendly in the bag. They are truly some great straws.

Organic

First and foremost, they are plant-based, which makes them organic. This also means that they are also compostable and biodegradable. So, you can easily break them down and add them to your compost bin. It also helps that they are BPA-free. This is a great tip for parents trying to teach composting to their kids.

Packaging

You will find that even the bag or packaging that these straws come in is environmentally friendly. So, you can easily recycle it or repurpose it yourself without it having a negative impact.

Plastic Straws

Along with other plastic products, plastic straws have damaged our environment on a significant scale and continue to do so.

Plastic straws

Excessive waste

Unlike reusable bamboo straws, single-use plastic straws are immediately thrown away. Since they do not degrade, these straws have been taking up an excessive amount of space in landfills. So, the daily waste produced due to these straws is unfathomable compared to other similar items.

Marine Life

These straws along with their packaging have had an extremely negative impact on our planet’s marine life. It has been predicted by experts that by the year 2050, for every 3 pounds of fish, there will be 1 pound of plastic in our oceans. The bad news doesn’t just stop there.

These straws are known to either kill or sicken sea turtles, fish, manatees, and many more. In fact, a whopping 100,000 mammals in the sea are known to die each year due to plastic polluting the sea.

Functionality

To truly get to the bottom of the debate, one cannot only focus on environmental aspects. We must also analyze the functionality of the product itself.

Bamboo Straws

Bamboo straws are able to achieve exactly what they were made for, that is, to be an eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws.

These straws can be used with all types of drinks, whether they may be hot or cool. This is due to the fact that bamboo is able to withstand hot climates, a property that is transferred onto the straw itself. You can use bamboo straws with thick cold drinks, such as slushies. This also makes them a great alternative to metal straws.

Bamboo Straws

Bamboo plants grow in extremely humid temperatures, which means that they are water-resistant as well. So, you can dunk your straw in water for hours on end and it will still maintain its integrity. Bamboo straws are, without a doubt, very durable.

Bamboo straws have a sizeable hole running through the middle. Thus, allowing them to be used with both thin and thick drinks, such as smoothies, bubble tea, and even a drink with boba in it.

Bamboo straws do not have any taste, which prevents them from ruining the taste of your drink. This also goes for smell as they are odourless. They are also usually kept completely natural without any dyes. So, you will not have to worry about it tampering with your drink in any way.

If your bamboo straw is properly cared for, you will be able to elongate its life. It will also remain much more durable than if not cared for properly. All you have to do is ensure that you clean it after each use and keep it dry. Bamboo straws are actually known to last for a minimum of 6 months. So, a single pack can last for several years for a single user.

Plastic Straws

While plastic straws completely fail in the environment-friendly department, this is not the case for their functionality.

They are incredibly affordable and get the job done. However, they can only be used with cold drinks as plastic and heat are a deadly combination. Plastic straws are incredibly durable. However, their durability does not count for much as they can be only used once.

You will be able to find plastic straws that come in several different sizes. So, the hole running through the middle can vary. This way, differently-sized straws will work with different types of cool drinks, including smoothies. However, you will run into trouble if you just got home with a boba drink and can’t find the right-sized plastic straw.

Accessibility

As mentioned before, convenience matters a lot when it comes to consumerism. Such is the case for all items, even straws. We humans, who don’t often have too much time on our hands, find it quite difficult to go out of our way only to purchase one single item. Not to mention that if we want to switch from one option to another, the latter option must be easily accessible.

Both bamboo straws and plastic straws are widely available and can easily be found both online and in a store near you. So, you will face no problems when you want to purchase a pack.

As plastic straws have been around and sold for a long time, they are incredibly easy to come by. However, bamboo straws aren’t far behind in terms of accessibility. These straws are incredibly easy to purchase. With the world becoming more and more aware of plastic pollution, you will find a myriad of companies selling this product.

In fact, you might even have a hard time narrowing down the best company for bamboo straws. A great company that understands both the cause and the people that sells bamboo straws is Homestraw. This company will never overcharge you for their products. The best part is, despite the competitive pricing, the quality of their bamboo straws is top-notch.

Bamboo Straws

Bamboo Straws and Plastic Straws, Which Is Better?

Now that we have explored the topic in all of its aspects, it is time to answer an important question. Which straw is better?

Well, the answer is quite obvious. Bamboo straws have obviously won this straw showdown. Bamboo straws are easily accessible, greatly functional, 100% biodegradable, compostable, and organic. They do not have any harmful chemicals. In fact, they are instead known to have antimicrobial properties. This prevents them from harbouring any harmful bacteria.

A bamboo straw is also a reusable straw, which means that a single straw will last you for months on end, instead of one single time.

Bamboo Straws

The only drawback is that bamboo straws are much more costly than plastic straws. However, it is important to factor in two elements along with the price. First, the longevity of their lifespan, which is a minimum of 6 months. Secondly, we must factor in the fact that we can use them for composting. This truly makes the price worth it on an individual scale.

Types of Reusable Straws

In the world of reusable drinking straws, you will find a lot of similar items to bamboo straws. Here is a list of other reusable straws that you will find in the market today.

  • Silicone straws
  • Metal straws
  • Glass straws
  • Reed straws
  • Paper straws

So, are bamboo straws the best alternative? Well, we can’t be too sure of that yet. It might not be the best alternative yet but we can’t doubt that it is a great alternative.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wash my bamboo straw in the dishwasher?

A bamboo straw has waterproof properties and is able to deal with boiling temperatures. Therefore, your bamboo straw is 100% dishwasher safe.

What is the most effective way to clean my bamboo straw?

To clean your bamboo straw as thoroughly as possible, you will have to get your hands on a cleaning brush. Combining water and soap, you can first brush the exterior of the straw. Then be sure to brush the hollow of the bamboo straw using the cleaning brush.

Bamboo Straws

Are silicone straws the same as plastic straws?

While both can greatly resemble one another, no, they are not the same. Silicone straws are made of a non-plastic material. They are also BPA-free. However, just like plastic, they are not biodegradable.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that bamboo straws are a much better and more mindful option for us and our planet. Particularly when it is compared to plastic straws. So, whether you are a conscious adult, store owner, or even someone with kids, it is important to support the organic and reusable bamboo straws industry. We must show this support consistently to prevent further polluting the planet.

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