Plastic straws are everywhere. From the local coffee shop to our favorite smoothie place. Most of us pick up these items without even considering the environmental impact of one-time use plastic products. Unlike some other materials, plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose in a landfill.
The recent plastic straw ban aims to change this, ordering business to nix plastic straws by 2020. Many plastic products, including straws, can be washed into the ocean and significantly injure marine life. With local governments expediting this change, many are scrambling to find alternatives to plastic straws.
Where do we go from here?
For many, giving up the use of straws is simply just not an option. How can you drink your favorite boba tea without a straw? Fortunately, with the purchase of a reusable straw, you can enjoy your boba tea and save the environment at the same time.
When it comes to reusable straws, you will most likely have to decide between bamboo, silicone or stainless steel. Reusable straws are made from several materials, but bamboo and stainless steel appear to be the most popular.
While both types of straws decrease our dependence on plastic, stainless steel seems to be the prime option.
Bamboo is more delicate than stainless steel, so the bamboo straws are more likely to get damaged in your backpack or purse. Stainless steel straws also last quite a bit longer than bamboo straws. These straws can last as long, and in some cases even longer, than regular stainless steel cutlery.
Bamboo straws will need to be replaced every few months to years, depending on the amount of use.
The University of Guam’s Sea Grant Program, an initiative focused on restoring clean oceans, suggests stainless steel straws are the best place to start.
Taking care of your reusable straw
Washing your straw at home is quite straightforward. You can rinse the straw with hot water and disinfect with soap. If you have a stainless steel straw, it is also dishwasher-safe. It really can’t get too much simpler than that!
Using the straw while you are out may take a bit more planning. After you use the straw, make sure to rinse it under warm water. You don’t want liquid from your sugary drink getting stuck in your straw. After the rinse, you can just put the straw back in its’ pouch and take it home to be washed. No muss, no fuss.
Change starts with us…
Each day we make small choices that can either negatively or positively impact our environment. If all work towards using fewer plastic straws we can make a significant difference in the health of the planet. When all of us come together with a common goal, you would be amazed at the impact that we can make.
Stainless steel cutlery, silverware, and drinkware is rising to popularity for its durability, strength, ease of use, and eco-friendliness. By making a stainless steel straw a token accessory you take with you, you could inspire others to do the same.