Are Reusable Straws Safe To Use – and For the Environment?
Are Reusable Straws Better For The Environment?
One of the many questions water bottle lovers asked is if reusable straws are safe to use? To be honest, reusable straws are absolutely safe to use and better for the environment, since they help lower the usage of single-use plastic straws. The fact that they are reusable is enough to make them a planet-friendly item. It means they do not contribute to the overwhelming plastic waste problem.
Generally, disposable straws 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.
Every year, billions of straws are disposed of. Plastic straws are known to be non-biodegradable, meaning they take hundreds, if not thousands of years, to degrade. When hey finally decompose, they become ‘microplastic,’ which has already resulted in many deaths among sea animals. Disposable straws can be recycled, but it’s not as simple as it seems. Due to their nominal size for mechanical recycling sorters, they usually blend with other waste materials, becoming too small to separate.
Reports on Disposable straws and plastics
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.
In the quest to address plastic waste, both national governments and several different green organizations have increased public awareness about the harmful consequences of plastics on human health and the environment. 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.
Reusable straws are a safer option to the widespread adverse effects of single-use plastic straws because they are chemical-free. They are made from sustainable materials like stainless steel, silicone, glass, and bamboo.
In the quest to address plastic waste, both governments and private organizations have increased public awareness about the harmful consequences of plastics on human health and the environment.
Types of reusable straws
Many individuals are switching to eco-friendly products like reusable straws in response to the growing problem of plastic wastes. Reusable straws can be used repeatedly and with proper care, even for many years, unlike disposable straws.
Using reusable glass straws is a great alternative to plastic straws because they’re durable and convenient. Aside from being recyclable, they won’t pollute the environment.
Being transparent and clear makes it easy to notice any debris or residue, which is an indication that your straw needs to be washed. Furthermore, glass straws must be kept clean to avoid the growth of bacteria and molds, both of which can cause major health problems.
Glass straws also don’t get soggy or bend when used. They’re safe to drink from as they don’t leech chemicals and won’t alter the taste. Unfortunately, glass straws can shatter due to improper handling. They might be dangerous if they show signs of a fracture due to their brittle nature. Thus, they should be used with caution when used with hot drinks, as they can conduct heat.
Silicone Reusable Straws
Silicone reusable straws are a great and safer alternative to plastic straws. They’re soft, flexible, and very comfortable to use since they include a silicone tip that prevents tooth chipping.
Most silicone straws are constructed from food-grade silicone and do not contain any plastic additives. They won’t taste like plastic and certainly won’t contribute any flavor either, so you don’t have to worry about that. They can also endure heated temperatures so that they can be used with hot drinks.
Silicone reusable straws can be recycled or composted when they are no longer useful. They degrade over time and return to their initial composition of carbon, water, and sand.
Bamboo Reusable Straws
When it comes to reusable straws, bamboo straws are the most eco-friendly. Bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly materials and is preferred by eco-friendly manufacturers. It is known for its natural antibacterial characteristics, making it less prone to harbor germs and pathogens as a material. It grows as plants without the aid of artificial irrigation or chemicals like fertilizers and pesticides.
Bamboo reusable straws are an excellent choice for any drink, from coffee to smoothies. They are cost-efficient and durable. No harm to the environment, and they are pocket-friendly. They are also completely compostable after their lifecycle.
Stainless Steel Straws
Reusable stainless steel straws are safe since they are made entirely free of plastic. They are made of food-grade stainless steel, which is perfect for beverages. Some reusable stainless steel straws come in a multi-colored 5pc Straw Set. They include silicone tips and slightly angled features to make sipping more comfortable and safe. Stainless steel straws, like the others, do not impart flavors or leach chemicals.
Stainless steel straws often come with a cleaning brush so that they can be readily cleaned and reused. These straws are environmentally friendly and do not produce any waste. They are also long-lasting and ultimately cost-effective.
The only disadvantage to reusable stainless steel straw is that stainless steel is an excellent heat conductor. Extra care is required when handling hot fluids to avoid scorching. And since they don’t bend, it is advised that you do not use stainless steel straws when driving or walking.
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.
- 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.
REUSABLE 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 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.