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Are re-usable straws worth it? - The cold hard truth that begins with metal straws

Following the plastic straw ban, many different alternatives have been touted, from PLA, to paper, to metal and more. One type, the re-usable straws which are metal and glass, are touted by some as the clear answer. However, after some research it’s clear that they fail to succeed as a safe or sustainable alternative. They’re harmful to restaurants and consumers.

Firstly, let’s take a look at the economic benefit. While re-usable straws sound like they could help a restaurant balance their budget, in reality they cause three major problems:

  • Firstly, they have to be washed thoroughly after every single use. This doesn’t sound like a problem at first bit some restaurants get through up to 100 straws a day, and so even if 50 straws are used twice in a day that’s two thorough washes to add to an already surely long list of items usually deemed more important.
  • Secondly, consumers are sceptical. In a problem which is only exacerbated by the ongoing crisis, re-usable straws key selling point is actually an unattractive feature to many. Spreading germs is a scary prospect, especially when people are used to having their own.
  • And finally, the most unexpected, yet unsurprising problem. People like to steal these straws for home. Many of course think to themselves ‘oh well, I’m sure it’s just me and it’s only a straw’ and so feel no guilt doing it, while others simply slip it in their bag or pocket without thinking about it. Whatever the reason, it leads to a huge loss of profit. Re-usable straws are supposed to be used around one hundred and fifty times to make them eco-friendly, whereas some re-usable straws must be used

In terms of pricing, one metal straw can be at least 75 cents, while a PLA, paper or wheat straw can cost anywhere from half a cent to 1.5 cents. This mixed with the public’s theft makes them entirely non-viable in your store. 

Furthermore, a worry for consumers is the health risk. Not of disease or general health risks, but these straws can be lethal or at least cause permeant damage if mis-used and misplaced.

  • Cuts and bruises have been caused often by metal straws, with the big chain Starbucks re-calling metal straws in 2016, as they had received numerous reports of injury.
  • Dentists say that metal straws can be bad for your teeth, especially children, and it’s comparable to chewing pens often.
  • One woman was killed when she tripped and fell on to her metal straw, and this story was widely shared enough that you’re likely to get customers scared or just downright against using these straws.
  • Metal straws can become extremely cold as heat transfers well into stainless steel, so they can become downright uncomfortable to touch in many cases.
  • For glass straws, which we haven’t talked about much, there are more obvious problems. Although they are built strong, they have been known to break and feel downright abrasive in your mouth, I’m not sure they’re so consumer friendly.

Lastly and most importantly, you’re not very likely to achieve the goal of the plastic ban – improving the environment. The carbon emissions used to make and then ship your straws are usually just as harmful or just harmful in a different way to our Earth. There are even some cases of the metal for metal straws being sourced through illegal mining, so it’s important you check your supplier carefully.

Here’s where we come in. We provide an ideal alternative. Straw by Straw is 100% natural, no added taste, malleable, harmless, honestly produced and so much more.

If you’d like to make small but powerful changes to your restaurant and consider some plastic alternatives, Straw By Straw might be the place to start. Every day we use thousands of plastic straws around the globe. Why continue with that when there are millions of straws growing in nature every year?

You can buy from us here or read more on our product here.

If you’re a restaurant or events organiser considering taking on our solution, please feel free to contact us via e-mail on ‘theo@strawbystraw.com’ or on mobile at +31648142608.

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