Biodegradable Straws

The 5 Best Sustainable Straws

If you’ve visited a trendy coffee shop and ordered an iced beverage recently, chances are you’ve encountered the infamous paper straw. You know the one. About halfway through your drink, it becomes soggy and completely unusable. A plastic straw would have been so much better! 

I mean, c’mon, plastic straws aren’t THAT bad. They’re so small, plus plastic can just be recycled, right?



The Facts


According to The Washington Post, plastic straws are actually too small to be processed in most recycling plants. As a result, they end up in landfills and bodies of water across the world. To make matters worse, plastic doesn’t biodegrade. 


In other words, plastic can’t be reincorporated into the ecosystem in a healthy way. Instead, it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces of microplastic. These particles infiltrate soil, air, and water in ways that harm the plants, animals, and humans living in an ecosystem.


One study estimates that plastic will be ingested by 99.8% of seabird species by 2050. This tells us that plastic pollution isn’t just limited to a few areas. It’s spreading around our world and across our oceans. 


Plastic Bans


As awareness around the issue grows, new laws are being created to protect our planet. In 2018, Seattle and Washington D.C. became the first major U.S. cities to completely ban plastic straws. Many smaller cities followed suit. California created a milder law preventing sit-down restaurants from serving straws unless requested by a customer. 


Many other U.S. cities and states are in the process of passing legislation around plastic, but some fear these measures aren’t drastic enough to curb the growing problem. In the European Union, for example, Time Magazine reports that all single-use plastic — straws included — will be banned by 2021! 


How You Can Help


If we’re going to reverse the tide of plastic straws, all hands need to be on deck! There’s a lot you can do to make a difference. 


Be A Voice For Change


For starters, consider leading a local campaign in your community to eliminate plastic straws (and more!). Petition council members, lawmakers, businesses, and schools to find straw alternatives.


When you eat out with friends and family, start a conversation around straws. Share some of the facts you’ve learned here, and encourage companions to go without plastic straws unless needed for medical reasons. 


It might not seem like it, but youth have the most power when it comes to influencing your community. That’s why the Plastic Tides Global Youth Mentor Program focuses on grassroots projects that create lasting real-world change. Make sure to reach out if you’d like to become a Youth Leader or Mentor!


Use A Sustainable Straw


You can put your money where your mouth is by investing in a sustainable straw. Fortunately, paper straws are not the only option! There are many eco-friendly straws that allow you to enjoy your drink without compromising our planet. Here are our top picks for straw alternatives.


Our Favorite Straw-Ternatives


Most Stylish: Final Straws 


Final Straws have a rust-proof, stainless steel body with platinum-grade, silicone tubing inside. This makes them a great pick for something aesthetically-pleasing and long-lasting. Since it can be inconvenient to carry a long straw around, these straws neatly fold up for storage, fitting inside a small case (7 X 2.6 cm). An extendable cleaning brush is also included.  


Easiest To Clean: Hummingbird Straws 


Glass is a great alternative for straw-users who are worried about the cleanliness of reusable straws. Since they’re clear, you can see inside the straw when washing. Hummingbird Straws offers fun, animal-themed designs! They also have clear and colored glass options. The only downside to a glass straw? It may break more easily than other materials.


Best For Kids: Softy Straws 


Softy Straws are made from non-harmful, food grade silicone. Free of any harmful chemicals that might leach into drinks, these flexible, bendy straws are a safe alternative for kids and adults alike. With different lengths and colors available, you can’t go wrong! 


Best Biodegradable: Bali Boo Bamboo Straws 


Totally organic, Bali Boo provides a plant-based and biodegradable straw. Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants, making it a truly sustainable material. However, despite being touted for its antibacterial properties, a bamboo straw will not last as long as metal or glass. Eventually, it will need to be replaced. Fortunately, Bali Boo straws are inexpensive and come in packs of 12 — perfect for long-term use! 


Best For Single Use: Grass Straw 


If you own a café or you’re hosting a party, check out Grass Straw. These straws are made from gluten-free, non-GMO wheat stems, which normally get tossed out in the agricultural process. Double your impact by composting used straws at home for great nutrient-rich soil.




Although straws are tiny, you can make a big difference by choosing a sustainable option. There are many amazing straws that allow for guilt-free slurping — plus they are guaranteed to add style to any drink! But if having a straw isn’t a necessity for you, consider going straw-less. That is one option with absolutely zero waste! 


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Christian Shaw