Are reusable straws better for the environment?
Plastic straws are not good on the environment, in fact, many organizations and institutions consider them as one of the world’s worst environmental scourges. With the ban on plastic straws and zero waste lifestyle becoming widespread, it’s time for us to make the switch from disposable straws to eco-friendly straws. Unlike single-use straws, reusable drinking straws are eco-friendly and do not add to the mountains of plastic waste in our landfills and oceans.
Our oceans are littered with billions of plastic and only a small fraction of these wastes are disposable straws. To put things into perspective, approximately 500 million plastic straws are used daily in the US alone. With the rapidly increasing plastic pollution, it’s only a matter of time before our oceans are completely covered with plastic. Researchers estimate that by 2050, our oceans will have more plastic than marine life.
Recently, more environmental groups, political institutions and even national governments have called for bans on plastic straws. Public establishments like restaurants and fast food chains have terminated their plastic straw provisions and some cities have passed legislations like fines to deter the public from using disposable straws.
Some industry experts are opposed to these drastic measures to ban plastic straws, however. According to them, the problem stems not from the plastic products but on how we dispose of them. They suggest that proper waste management is the best way to prevent further plastic pollution.
Environmental organizations, on the other hand, support these environmental measures, saying the ban on plastic straws is just one step towards ending the use of single-serve plastic products.
Reusable Drinking Straws
Reusable straws are the eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws. Some of them are durable like stainless steel and glass straws while some are totally made from 100% natural material like bamboo straws. Silicone straws are also great eco-friendly options because silicone is the second most abundant element on Earth’s crust, next to oxygen. This means we will not run out of silicon for a very long time.
Stainless steel straws are considered to be the most durable and resistant among the reusable straws. They are rust-proof and stainless steel is one of the most recycled materials so they are eco-friendly. Unfortunately, stainless straws are unbendable which means you need to be extra careful with them. Some stainless steel straws also add some kind of metallic taste to some drinks so take this into consideration when buying one.
Glass straws may not be as durable as stainless steel straws but they are as eco-friendly. Much like stainless steel, recycling glass is possible. Although highly unlikely, glass straws can break if you drop them from a certain height so you should bear this in mind. Bamboo straws are made from 100% natural materials which means once they are no longer reusable, you can simply toss them to your compost pile and they will break down naturally.
Silicone straws are the most flexible among the bunch. They are durable and bendable so you can put them inside your pocket, bag or kitchen drawer.
In conclusion, are reusable straws better for the environment? Absolutely. Unlike plastic straws, reusable drinking straws do not contribute to widespread plastic pollution which has become a major problem for most countries in the world. From its production to disposable, plastic straws are causing many environmental problems for us. And by purchasing a reusable straw, you are helping the environment.
Every year, more establishments and even entire cities have imposed a ban on plastic straws. While this sounds like something that can cause inconvenience for most people, this is just a small step towards weaning off our dependence on single-serve plastic. With so many reusable straws available, you can enjoy your favourite beverage, hot or cold, wherever you go.
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