It seems like straws have been all over the news lately. It seems crazy that such a small item is causing such a stir (pun intended). I am a strong believer that every little bit counts (I’ll pick up coins I see on the ground) so I avoid single use products – including straws. But I am also aware that our planet’s environmental problems will take more than bans on straws to solve.
For those of you who like to use straws but want to avoid the single use plastic variety, there are several options! I’m here today to break down the different types I’ve tried and (hopefully) give you the information you need to pick the best product for you!
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I have tried metal (stainless steel), bamboo, and silicone reusable straws. I like them all; there are pros and cons to each.
Cleaning reusable straws
My stainless steel straws came with a pipe cleaner that I use to clean the inside of all my straws. I rinse each out immediately after using, and use the pipe cleaner, a scrub brush for the outside, and a little castile soap at least every couple uses.
Stainless Steel Reusable Straws
Pros: I don’t notice any taste. Stainless steel straws are very easy to clean, I have had mine for 2 years and they look like the day I got them. They’re recyclable.
Cons: If I’m not paying attention sometimes I jam my lip or gum with the straw and it hurts a lot more than plastic, silicone, or bamboo does. This is not a con for me, but might be for some people: these straws are cold when placed in cool or cold beverages.
I use a stainless steel straw for my everyday, at home straw.
Silicone Reusable Straws
Pros: I don’t notice any taste with silicone reusable straws. They’re easy to clean, and flexible so I can use a straw that is taller than my bottle and then just stuff the straw inside to put the lid on. These straws are recyclable, but it’s difficult to find recycling facilities. I plan to use mine for a long time so this isn’t a big deal.
Cons: Not easy to recycle
I keep a silicone straw in my purse, in my Zero Waste Kit for the times that I am out and about and want to use a straw. I think silicone reusable straws are the best option for kids since they’re unlikely to cause injury (if they, like me, sometimes accidentally smack their face into the straw, or have it in their mouth and fall). They’re also light and can fold up small so are easiest to carry around.
Bamboo Reusable Straws
Pros: Bamboo straws are all natural, compostable, easy to clean, and some people claim antibacterial so if that’s true that is a plus. They’re more forgiving than metal if I smack my mouth into it.
Cons: When I leave my bamboo reusable straw in a beverage for a long time, such as in iced tea that I refill throughout the day, the straw very slightly swells and softens, and it may pick up a little bit of color from the drink. But it completely dries out in a day, and seems none the worse for the wear. These straws probably last the shortest amount of time (especially if left in liquid for long periods of time like I sometimes do), but I’ve only had mine a few months so I’m not sure. I expect it to last for years though.
I think these straws are the neatest looking, and the seem to appeal most to the natural/trying-to-save-the-earth types.
I got mine from Panda Packaging, I liked supporting the small business and that these are hand made. There are also many options on Amazon.
Glass Reusable Straws
I have not tried glass because I and worried that I will hurt myself on it/ break it. But I do think it is a great option for some people. It should not pick up any colors or flavors, and is infinitely recyclable, like stainless steel.
Do you use reusable straws? What kind do you like and how do you use them? Share with us in the comments below!