Are Reusable Straws Better for the Environment?
Reusable straws are certainly better for the environment. The assurance that they are reusable is enough to make them a planet-friendly item. Generally, l have become an environmental plague everyone is trying to cope with.
As the name implies, single-use or disposable straws are disposed of after use. They cannot be recycled due to their size so almost all of them end up in incinerators, landfills, and worst, floating in bodies of water. Afterward, they are ingested by unsuspicious sea animals – an action that has already caused a number of deaths in the marine life population.
A recent report conducted by the National Park Service shows that about 175 billion straws are used yearly in the US alone. Now imagine the number of chemicals released into the water, air, and soil. What about the natural resources wasted to produce the straws only for them to be thrown away after? These straws will continue to exist for hundreds, even thousands of years, long after we are all gone, which is because they are non-biodegradable.
National governments and several different green organizations are taking action against plastic straws. Many towns and public establishments globally continue to ban them outright while some food shops and restaurants have decided to opt for paper straws instead of plastic straws. Fortunately, creating awareness against disposable straws and plastic wastes is starting to pay off although there is still a long road ahead. But as it is now, many people are moving away from anything disposable and towards their reusable counterparts.
Why are reusable straws better for the environment?
Made From Eco-friendly and Sustainable Materials
Bamboo, silicone, and glass are commonly used in making reusable straws. All of these materials have one thing in common: they are sustainable and eco-friendly.
Glass is a rich material from sand and is considered sustainable by ensuring that less natural resources are consumed. If layered and tempered, glass straws will not break easily when dropped.
Similarly, bamboo straws are made from bamboo, which is a highly sustainable and renewable material. Bamboos grow in abundance without the need for artificial irrigation and chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers. Reusable bamboo straws are just as amazing as any other type of straws.
Silicone straws are perhaps the most popular reusable straws; they are also eco-friendly. Silicone itself is a renewable material that is biodegradable. Upon decomposition, Silicone naturally breaks down and returns to its original state: Water, sand, and carbon.
Stainless steel reusable straws are made from first-rate food-grade stainless steel. Some brands even include flexible silicone tips. These straws are rust-proof, safe, and sustainable. Moreover, stainless steel is a highly durable and recyclable material. These types of straws are super-easy to clean and maintain, albeit some safety precautions must be considered. One of such precautions is that you should not use steel reusable straws when running, walking, or driving a car because they do not bend.
Washable Straws Are Chemical-free
Plastic straws contain loads of potentially harmful chemicals and toxins. Have you ever notice that a drink typically tastes like plastic when used with a single-use plastic straw? That’s due to chemical leaching by plastic. They alter the taste and impart its flavor. Additionally, these chemicals like bisphenol-A (BPA) disrupt hormonal balance and are widely considered as carcinogenic.
Alternatively, reusable straws are free from harmful chemicals and toxins, and will never leach any into your drink. No wonder drinks taste better with a reusable straw.
Fewer Wastes Are Produced
Reusable straws are reusable and will not be disposed of after each use. Even at the end of their life span, they can be composted or recycled or which means less waste is generated. From production to disposable, reusable straws have less carbon footprint, unlike their disposable counterpart. Their positive effect on the environment and its resources could not be overemphasized.
Inappropriate dumping of plastic straws can lead to several environmental challenges, including marine life extinction, deforestation, global warming, and ultimately, biodiversity loss.