Sipping a milkshake, soda or refreshing iced tea or coffee through a straw is the best, but millions of straws are thrown away each day in the U.S., adding up to billions over the course of a year. You don’t have to give up straws altogether to be less wasteful. Instead of single-use, disposable plastic straws, check out glass and stainless steel straws that are stylish, dishwasher safe and are meant be reused over and over again.
According to a study conducted by Restaurants & Institutions magazine, nearly 83% of consumers surveyed said that environmentally friendly takeout packaging is either very important or somewhat important. More than 71% said that using environmentally friendly plates, to-go containers and utensils is also important.
Plastic straws proliferate in drawers in houses and offices alike, so many agree it’s time to change this one-use habit.
You may have read about the health concerns associated with plastic, particularly with items containing a host of toxins such as phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), or lead. Going plastic-free and choosing BPA free food containers has become a lot more popular as questions about food safety were raised by the Center for Environmental Health and other groups.
Both glass and steel food straws help avoid plastics that may leach weird stuff into your drink and have their advantages respectively, so to help add a little clarity, here’s a few tips about each.
Are lightweight, making it easy to toss into your bag, briefcase, backpack if you go on a hike, in your car, etc. Stainless steel straws score high in terms of durability, but tend to get cold or hot depending on the contents and are not microwaveable. Handy House offers a set of stainless steel drinking straws that comes with a cleaning brush.
Glass straws come in a variety of different widths and lengths, and go easily from the refrigerator to the microwave depending on your drink. These straws are made with a specific type of clear glass (borosilicate glass) that is both heat and cold resistant. It’s the same glass that Pyrex is made from, so it’s super strong and also non-toxic, so no chemicals leach into your drink.
Glass has more stylish accents, like cute colors. They’re also transparent, making it fun to sip from as you watch your drink flow.
Many glass straw companies, such as Glass Dharma provide a lifetime guarantee against breakage.
- Both types of straws are cleaned using a little cleaning brush that comes with the straws, or you can place them in the dishwasher.
- Both types are also affordable, especially for handcrafted products, and most types are made in the USA.
- Ultimately, it’s up to you to see which material works best. You could always keep a few thick glass straws at home, and pack a few stainless steel ones to go.
Instead of Throwing Away Plastic Straws
Remember the art of Refuse, one of the lesser-known Rs after reduce, reuse and recycle. If you do get takeout from a restaurant, skip the plastic straw. If it’s placed into your bag and you don’t need it, give it back instead of throwing it away. If you work at a restaurant or cafe, ask patrons if they would like a straw before handing one out.
Keep an extra glass or stainless steel straw in a reusable bag next to your keys so you’ll have on when you need it, like if you’re meeting someone for a lunch or dinner date.
Personalized and engraved glass straws made in the USA are available at Strawesome, and make great gifts for occasions like bridal or baby showers, weddings, or gifts for awkward office parties.
It’s true that you won’t get the satisfaction of tearing off a paper wrapper and blowing it across the room, but you’ll save money by not buying disposable straws that need to be replaced often, and generate less trash. Try out both materials and see what you think.
Remember that small things add up. Choosing reusable items over products that have to be recycled is a step in the right direction. Recycling is good but not having to recycle at all is even better. In our handy guide for recycling at parties, we talk about other ways to reduce and reuse like using cloth napkins and recycled tableware. Use these tips along with other reusable items to stay on the waste-free track.