[Sustainable Development]

Five Plastic Straw Alternatives

By Lauren Ramakrishna

Next time you order an iced coffee, hold the plastic straw. It’s estimated that Americans use 500 million plastic drinking straws per day. Although plastic straws can be recyclable, most end up in landfills, and many make their way into oceans, polluting them and harming marine life. (In 2015, a sea turtle became a viral star when researchers recorded their attempts to extract a plastic straw from his nostril.)

While plastic straws are a convenient single-use item, they’re only increasing the damage to our planet and even our health. Luckily, there are alternatives to plastic straws that will allow you to sip your drink and help protect the Earth.

In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8, do your part to help protect and preserve our world’s oceans and choose from these environmentally-friendly plastic straw alternatives.

Paper straws. These lightweight straws are easy to carry around, and they’re a biodegradable option that’s safer for our planet. Stash some in your bag or purse to use when you’re on the go. Go the extra step and encourage your local restaurant or deli to use paper instead of plastic straws!

Stainless steel straws. If you already joined our Reusable Water Bottle Challenge and ditched plastic bottles, now you can sip your drink through a stainless steel straw. Pro tip: choose a set that has silicone tips at the end—they’ll protect your teeth from chips and your lips from burning if you use the straw in a hot drink.

Bamboo straws. Natural bamboo is a fantastic eco-friendly option. Even better: they’re durable and reusable, and they don’t hang onto flavors from your drinks.

Glass straws. Transparent glass straws make it easy to see if your reusable straw is completely clean. But before you invest, make sure the glass set is shatter-resistant.

Silicone straws. Made with non-toxic, BPA-free, food-grade silicone, these straws are a great option for toddlers and young kids who tend to chew on their straws. They’re reusable, easy to clean, and come in bright colors!

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