In this article, we’d like to turn your attention to one item which we all use frequently- the straw.
Short or tall, made of plastic, glass, stainless steel or bamboo, there are plenty of types of straws. How to choose the right one for you and your lifestyle?
Let’s answer this question by looking at the positive sides and drawbacks of all of them.
We begin with the plastic straws.
Advantages: Cheap. In Bulgaria, you’d pay 2 Euros for a pack of 1,000. Light and easy to carry but have you ever wondered who is paying for that convenience? The planet.
Disadvantages: Here the list is going to be a little bit longer. Made of polypropylene, colorants, plasticizers, antioxidants, ultaviolet light filters and inert filters, these straws are extremely harmful for both the consumer and the environment. Wonder why? Well, let’s check some facts. One of the components of plastic straws is BPA which is a harmful chemical that mimics the activity of hormones, most commonly estrogen, which can lead to a number of reproductive disorders and other conditions, such as diabetes and heart diseases.
Also, the use of straws in the U.S. alone is 500 million straws per day (an average of 1.6 straws per person according to Eco Cycle 2016). While polypropylene is a versatile plastic, straws are small and hard to pick out when workers sift through recycling, meaning that they are rarely recovered. Moreover, between 22 and 43 percent of plastic worldwide is disposed of in landfills, where its resources are wasted and it takes valuable space (Gourmelon 2015). If burnt, plastic releases substances such as dioxins and furans (hormone- disrupting, cancer- causing substances that build up in water, soil, crops and our own bodies) and styrene gas (which damages the nervous system) so that is not an option either (Umbra 2016).
So how do we solve this problem? Breathe, you don’t have to give up drinking your favorite smoothie or milkshake. In spirit of our passion for Zero Waste, we’d suggest you to switch to an eco-friendly alternative to plastic straws.
Like the stainless steel straws.
Advantages: A lifetime guarantee. Stainless steel is durable and has high resistance to corrosion which makes it the perfect material choice for long-lasting kitchen items. Easy to clean. Stainless steel straws are dishwasher safe and if you order them from here , each set comes with a cleaning brush which makes handwashing a piece of cake. Also, stainless steel straws retain the temperature of your drink and do not interact with your beverage. BPA free. Unlike plastic straws, they do not contain any chemicals so you can use them as much as you like, as often as you like, without any health risks. Durable. You can bring your stainless steel straws anywhere without worrying about breaking them.
Disadvantages: Only one- the price, they are more expensive than plastic straws.
Now let’s turn your attention to another eco-friendly option.
Advantages: Heat and cold resistant. These straws won’t interact with your beverage or spoil its taste. Recyclable, just like the majority of glass items, the straws do not make an exception over here.
Disadvantages: Not so travel friendly as they’re rather easy to break in comparison to the stainless steel straws and again, more expensive than plastic straws.
Advantages: These beauties have an earthy vibe and are ideal for summer-themed parties. 100% natural and biodegradable.
Disadvantages: They are porous which makes them not so long-lasting as stainless steel straws or glass straws and again, more expensive than plastic straws.
Have you made your pick? Let us know which one you prefer and why :))
Gourmelon, G., 2015. Plastic Straws: A Life Cycle. Worldwatch Institute [online] Available from: http://blogs.worldwatch.org/plastic-straws-a-life-cycle/ [Accessed 12/03/2017]
Eco Cycle, 2016. Be Straw Free Campaign: Frequently Asked Questions. Eco Cycle [online] Available from: http://www.ecocycle.org/bestrawfree/faqs [Accessed 12/03/2017]
Umbra, 2016. What’s worse, burning plastic or sending it to a landfill?