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Plastic straws: why they’re bad and what your alternatives are...

  • WHY PLASTIC STRAWS ARE BAD FOR THE ENVIROMENT
  • YOUR ALTERNATIVES AND WHY STRAW IS BEST

We know the deal – you’ve been using plastic straws for years. Everyone loves them, they’re ultra-cheap and they get the job done - without any of the horrible taste of paper straws! They’re great. But what happens when plastic straws need a replacement, and why do we even need one? In 2021, the EU says you need an alternative in your business, so let’s outline why they’ve made this decision.

 There are so many reasons plastic straws need replacement:

  • Internal health reasons
    • A recent study here noted that plastics of almost all kinds can, when scratched, contaminate and leach into your drink dangerous chemicals that harm Estrogen levels.
  • External health reasons
    • Plastic can be found in our tissue, our blood, and all over us (in tiny particulates) as this study suggests, and it’s common knowledge that this can be related to cancer, birth defects, impaired immunity and more. Furthermore, plastic poisons the food chain. From plankton, that feeds animals we eat, to the largest and most grandiose whales, to the turtles. In 2018, an Indonesian whale was found to have swallowed 19 pounds of plastic.
  • The Death of the Ocean
    • From Thailand to Australia, animals, plant-life and food chains are being disrupted. This four-year study showed the extent of the damage to coral reefs, and it’s truly disturbing.
  • Unrecyclable
    • Although we have no exact number on how much plastic is recycled and how much isn’t, in 2017 landfills received almost 27 million tons of plastic. The equivalent of two thousand, six hundred and seventy-three Eiffel Towers in weight.
  • Unbiodegradable
    • The last decade especially has seen a number of biodegradable solutions solve the problem of plastic, and most would agree these are far better than plastic. Biodegradation stops us from wasting as much landfill space by a huge amount.
  • Single-use
    • If you’re here you will have no doubt heard the term ‘single-use plastic’, but this doesn’t do justice to how little that use can be. A plastic bag with a rip in it, a straw used once in a restaurant, and simpler two-second ‘uses’ can then be thrown away and pollute our environment for simple ‘convenience’. It’s this complacency and simple lack of recyclability that so much waste is created, and therefore it’s for this reason that many try to find alternatives and in almost all sectors have been trying for years. Straw straws are a great example of a working alternative, but more are needed to head for a plastic free world.
So what alternatives can you use? There are many options, but only one we believe true works. Now we’ll evaluate your alternatives, and the pros and cons of each.
  • Paper straws
    • Pros:
      • Cheaper than metal straws
        • But not cheaper than straw straws
      • Recyclable
        • But only when disposed of properly
      • Cons:
        • Soggy when left for too long
        • Often hardened with plastic layer which makes them non-recyclable
        • Ineffective in hot drinks
        • When un-added to via wax or plastic, they add a taste which most people really don’t enjoy
  • Metal straws
    • Pros:
      • Washable and re-usable
        • Although this does take up significant time
      • Durable
        • Although rigid
      • Cons:
        • Easy and frequently stolen
        • Re-usable probably isn’t the best given the ongoing pandemic
        • Un-usable in super-hot drinks
        • Costly
  • PLA straws
    • Pros:
      • Biodegradable
        • But only after 6 months if in the perfect conditions
      • Similar feel to single-use plastic
        • But customers will recognise your lack of progress
      • Cons:
        • Counter-active to the attempts to reduce plastic waste
        • As dangerous as single-use plastic when in the ocean and landfills
        • Wastes energy when disposing of it
        • As the EU and other governing bodies make wider efforts to dispose of plastics, this will soon join the heap and you’ll have to look for another alternative
  • Glass straws
    • Pros:
      • Look sleek
        • But can be stolen because of this
      • Re-usable
        • But again, significant time is needed to clean them
      • Cons:
        • Can shatter
        • Expensive
        • Not cost-effective vs paper or straw straws

And finally, we have:

  • Straw straws
    • Pros:
      • Very cheap
        • Cheaper than paper!
      • 100% natural
        • Vegan friendly too!
      • Turning waste into usable product
        • Meeting sustainable goals and assurances
      • Ultra-biodegradable
        • From the farm to the landfill, it can break down over time very reliably
      • Strong but not inflexible
        • Not as dangerous as metal straws, but not as soggy as paper
      • Cons:
        • More expensive than PLA

Although I’m a little bias, it’s clear in my mind that our wheat straws are the far superior alternative, and we’re still working on new innovations all the time! If you’d like to see our straws in your local restaurant/bar, let the manager or server know! As we move towards a greener future and a more sustainable planet, it’s important to be aware of where we’re eating and what they’re doing to contribute. You can even buy your own straws at home from our website.

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 +447491827894 or +31648142608

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