Let’s talk plastic. Plastic straws that is. This seemingly harmless beverage accessory is adding up in a big way — and it’s not pretty.
According to The Last Plastic Straw, “500 million plastic straws are discarded every day in the United States alone.” This equates to 175 billion straws a year left to live out the rest of their useless lives in the landfill — what a waste. Once it reaches this final resting place, it will spend the next 400 years and then some degrading.
Starting to think twice about that plastic straw? You’re not alone.
Singling out the Plastic Straw
Battling the war on single-use plastic straws is no easy task. Convincing the entire collective to ditch their bad habit for a better one is tough, but with new policies set in place, there soon may be no choice. Cities and states across the nation have begun to ban plastic straws — with numerous well-known companies jumping on board.
This year California will officially be the first state to ban plastic straws in sit-down restaurants, with restrictions of course. Customers can still obtain a straw but must ask first. While it’s not exactly a full-on ban, it’s a move in the right direction.
Along with California, New York and Hawaii are pushing for a ban while major cities like Seattle and Miami Beach are taking their own stand. While we may not be U.K. status on the plastic straw ban yet, the movement is strong and with time we may see a nationwide change.
We know for some the mere mention of a ban may induce a semi-life crisis. Slurping up your favorite beverage through a straw is not only pleasurable, but it prevents your teeth from staining, keeps the cold from hitting sensitive spots, and prevents acidic liquids from doing harm.
Reusability is King
Yet a ban on plastic doesn’t mean you must give up your straw. It just means you trade it in for a better, longer lasting product: the reusable straw.
For anyone who loves drinking through a straw, reusable straws were made for you. They come in a variety of sizes, materials, and colors so you can find the right one to suit your needs. Durable and compact, you can stash it in your pocket or store it in your backpack so you never need to waste a single-use plastic straw again.
Ready for your last straw? So are we. That’s why we compiled a list of some of the best reusable straws on the market. Whether you opt for stainless steel or bamboo is more your jam, you can put your foot down with a final straw.
The Earth Straw is an ideal traveling companion. There when you need it, this travel-size straw can be busted out the moment your beverage hits your glass.
The 8.5-inch reusable straw is made from high quality kitchen-grade and rust resistant stainless steel. Each straw comes complete with its own beech wooden case and cotton cleaning brush. At .31-inches, it’s designed to fit inside a YETI, Starbucks, or similar tumbler ranging in the 20-30 ounce size.
Coming in a pack of three, you can get the whole family on board for a bargain of a price.
EcoTribe is committed to crafting quality products with eco-friendly consumption on the mind. That’s why they joined the movement for the reusable straw by designing their own.
For larger beverages, suck your way to every last delicious drop with their 8-inch EcoTribe stainless steel reusable straw. Available in a pack of four, these BPA-free straws are durable and steady.
When you’re not slurping down something frosty, the straws can be stored in a custom designed hand-crafted wooden case and bonus calico bag. To clean you can either toss it in the dishwasher or use the nifty cleaning brush.
Greens Steel is all about reducing consumption in hopes of a brighter future. This family-run company offers a variety of toxin-free reusable products designed to eliminate waste.
For the stainless steel budget shopper, you can’t get any better than their stainless steel straws. These straws are incredibly durable and they back their word by slapping on a lifetime guarantee.
In one pack you’ll receive two curved straws as well as two wider straws for thicker beverages, both of which fit any 8-20-ounce tumbler.
Constructed from 18/8 food-grade stainless steel, you won’t have to worry about BPA, phthalates, lead, or any other toxins. Guaranteed to never rust or break, these suckers are made to last a lifetime.
We’ve all heard that coffee stains your teeth, but the founders of Koffie took that to heart. In an effort to keep teeth healthy and coffee stain-free, they came up with a solution, a silicone straw.
Why silicone? It won’t chip teeth like stainless steel and it won’t melt in hot coffee like plastic. Plus, once burned it turns into ash making it biodegradable.
For all you coffee lovers out there, Koffie is the straw that was specifically designed for you. The Koffie straw is made from 100-percent non-stick silicone which is safe for hot beverages and easy to clean. Each set comes with an 8-inch and 10-inch straw along with a cleaning brush.
And if you’re curious, they are designed to fit nice and snug in a variety of travel cups.
Archer Silicone Straws
Did you love bendy straws as a kid? Then take a look at the Archer silicone straws. The top bends the way you like while the bottom is angled to maximize beverage flow.
Unlike those plastic single-use bendy straws, these ones are constructed from BPA-free FDA-approved silicone that can withstand a crazy temperature range, -40F to 450F to be exact.
A pack of six will run you less than $10 and they come in a rainbow of color your kids will love too. While we would prefer travel cases were also included, you can’t beat the price.
If you like the Archer concept but are looking to add a few more straws to your collection, then consider the Flathead straws. They have a similar design, material, and tumbler compatibility as the Archer straws, yet bare a few differences you may prefer.
To start, this pack comes with a set of 10 in matching shades of blue, teal, purple, pink, and white. They’re a hair longer at 10.5-inches and come with an extra long cleaning brush as well as a carrying bag. Grab the whole set and share with your friends when you’re on the go.
Bamboo and Glass Straws
California based Simply Straws handcrafts their glass straws. While glass may conjure concerns of breakage, Simply Straws are made from the strongest glass around, borosilicate glass.
These glass straws are non-porous, hypo-allergenic, and of course, BPA-free. They come in three different sizes and can be cleaned in the dishwasher or even heated in the microwave — although we’re not sure why you’d be tempted too.
Although silicone and stainless steel have their own advantages, there’s something about glass that just looks more elegant. And for those feeling extra fancy, for an additional $5 you can customize your straw to give it a more personal touch.
For those that prefer natural goods, Namastraws is right up your alley. These gorgeous straws are made out of 100-percent organic bamboo harvested from the mountains of China. If all you know about bamboo is pandas love the stuff, we’d like to take this opportunity to mention it’s an incredibly fast-growing plant that is fully sustainable.
The beauty about using this material is there’s no unwanted aftertaste and each straw will vary from the last. Slightly different in size and color, their straws are truly one of a kind.
Each set comes with 12 straws, two cleaning brushes, and a 100-percent organic linen bag.
While you can enjoy your beverage hot or cold with this straw, we recommend choosing the latter and enjoying your piña colada straight from the coconut the all-natural way.
Like Simply Straws, Strawtopia is also reaping in the benefits of borosilicate glass. Their handmade seamless straws are strong, sleek, and durable. So much so that if you were to take a frozen straw and submerge it into scalding hot liquid, it wouldn’t break. Not even a crack.
A set of their 6mm reusable straws comes with two bendy and two straight so you can pick your preference. For those that tend to want to slurp on their morning smoothie or frosty milkshake, go with the extra wide option of 10mm or 12mm.
There are also two cleaning brushes included in the kit. Which if you’re the type to like things squeaky clean, you’ll love the transparency of glass means you know there’s no leftover gunky residue clogging up your slurping straw.
Terra Futura Straws
Terra Futura is a family run business creating sustainably sourced products inspired by Mother Earth herself. If the higher price of glass is a turn-off for you, their reusable glass straws are an excellent option to consider.
A pack of six multi-color 10-inch bendy straws will run you less than $15 while still providing a solid product. Like the other glass straws, they’re shatter resistant, hypoallergenic, toxin-free, and dishwasher safe.
If for some reason you aren’t satisfied with their product they offer a 90-day money back guarantee.
Reusable Straws Buyer’s Guide
How Long Will Your Reusable Straw Last?
Reusable straws are meant to last a lifetime. Keyword: meant. How you care for your product will determine how long it last. So will material. Silicone, stainless steel, and glass should last with proper care. Bamboo, on the other hand, is more likely to need a replacement at some point.
And remember, life happens. Choose a company that offers a lifetime guarantee on their product and you’ll always have a straw on hand.
Caring for Your Straw
Proper care is crucial in the life expectancy of your straw. Let things get funky and you may be trading it in for a new one sooner than you expect.
To help you make the most of your reusable straw, follow the washing procedure recommended by the company. While some may vary, we’ve listed some general care guidelines below to help you out.
- Rinse the straw with warm water as soon as possible after use.
- Scrub the inside with the provided cleaning brush and dish soap. If extra funky use baking soda.
- Rinse with warm water.
- Air dry.
Are All Materials Made Equal?
Reusable straws come in a variety of materials all offering their own advantages as well as disadvantages. Take a look at the breakdown to determine which one is right for you.
Stainless steel is made to last a lifetime. It won’t rust or break making it ideal for traveling. It’s also free from BPA and phthalates. It certainly is a solid material.
That’s also the problem. Because it’s so strong, it’s easier to chip your teeth on these straws if you’re not careful. It also transfers heat which can be an issue if you’re drinking hot beverages.
Like stainless steel, silicone is designed to live forever. Unlike stainless steel, it can withstand high temperatures and remain cool to the touch.
The one perk it offers over other materials is flexibility. This will make it easier to fit in cup openings as well as preventing breakage during travel.
The one concern is keeping it clean. It’s more susceptible to mold than some of the other materials.
Bamboo is a sustainable material and usually a cheap option when it comes to reusable straws. It’s 100-percent natural and has its own aesthetic appeal.
The downside is it requires more upkeep and not every company guarantees their bamboo as ethically sourced. It doesn’t have the shelf life other materials do and due to the nature of the bamboo, sizes may vary so it may not fit in your to-go cup.
The glass used to create reusable straws is surprisingly strong. They look elegant and their visibility makes them the best option when it comes to cleaning.
On the other hand, they tend to be the most expensive option and chipping teeth is a concern along with drinking from a chipped glass. And while they can be incredibly tough, they are the most likely to break.
So which straw will you choose?