What was once a frivolous drink accessory, plastic straws are now one of the rising environmental threats in the world. To keep your hydration habits eco-friendly, make the switch to reusable straws today. We’ve summarised the advantages and disadvantages of different plastic straw alternatives to help uncover the perfect one for you.
Pros: Most commonly made of stainless steel, metal straws are durable and non-corrosive, making them perfect for carrying around in your bag. In addition, metals will not absorb flavours or smells, so you can easily go from drinking coffee to fruit smoothie without any residue taste.
Cons: As good conductors, metal straws will pick up the temperature of your drink and can become too hot or too cold for your lips. It’s also not the best option for people with sensitive teeth or have a habit of chewing straws. Thankfully, there’s a quick fix for these problems: you can buy silicone tips for straws and eliminate the risk of scalding your lips or chipping your teeth.
Pros: Often the cheapest option around, these straws are usually made using only bamboo, so you don’t have to worry about any additives or chemicals, like dyes. Look out for organic options for that extra peace of mind. While they are reusable and can last for years, bamboo straws don’t have as long a lifespan as other materials, but that’s nothing to fret about as they are highly biodegradable.
Cons: Since bamboo is a natural material, each straw may differ in diameter, making it hard to say for certain if you’re getting your preferred size. They also tend to be thicker and are more susceptible to warping and cracks, especially if they aren’t cleaned and dried properly.
Pros: These flexible straws are easier to fit into smaller openings and different lid holes, which means you can still sip on your drink even if they are in your Thermos® Mug. Food-grade silicone straws are also great for kids as they are gentle on the teeth and gums, and are bendable for easy access.
Cons: Being pliable means these tubes can be a little trickier to clean and dry. It may also be more difficult to suck up drinks with chunks, such as smoothies, as they can get lodged in the straw and leave food particles in the interior surface that would take more effort to wash out.
Pros: Like stainless steel, glass straws are immune to flavours and smells, and are similarly non-corrosive. They’re not as quick in getting hot or cold, making your sips a more comfortable experience. Since they are transparent, it’s easy to see how clean they are. Glass also tends to look fancier, making them ideal for sticking in snazzy cocktails to entertain dinner guests.
Cons: While glass straws are shatter-resistant, they’re still the most fragile of the lot, so you’d need to hand wash them carefully. They’re also not the best bet if you're looking for something that travels well or if you have small children around.
Thoroughly rinse the inside of your straw with warm water as soon as you’re done using it to prevent residues from drying and sticking in there.
Once you’re back home, give your straw a good scrub with a cleaning brush and dish soap. If there are stubborn stains or debris, add baking soda to your brush before scrubbing. Rinse well and allow to dry.
Don’t forget to clean the openings and the outside of the straw by washing with a soft sponge to prevent scratching.
For bamboo straws, leave them in a well-ventilated area after cleaning and make sure they are completely dry before storing them. Every month or so, sanitise your straw by soaking it for a few minutes in boiling water mixed with a splash of vinegar.