Ditching Plastic Straws for Earth’s Health

If an individual had something to drink today, chances are that the drink was accompanied by a tiny piece of plastic. A stirrer or a straw comes almost unasked for when one orders their favorite coffee or juice or cola. Every day millions of these non-reusable straws are used and discarded and they ultimately end up in landfills and oceans. Being non-biodegradable, they just sit on earth, and cause pollution. In worse cases, in oceans, they end up harming the marine life and as microplastics; enter human food chain too, poisoning it. Who would have thought that a sip of their favorite drink can be dangerous with a straw?
Finding Alternatives
Many countries have awakened to the menace that a simple straw causes. While some have put a blanket ban on straws, some have asked for a planned omission of straws from the market. In either of the cases, the need is to find alternatives to the plastic straw. And yes, while drinking straight from the cup or glass without a straw is surely the best solution, there are some very innovative and colorful substitutes to plastic straws in the market.
Cheers to the New Straws
Getting rid of straws is a problem which can be readily solved by providing alternatives to it. Many companies and industry players have risen up to this challenge of finding alternatives and sure have succeeded in developing them. Let’s take a look at some of the popular alternatives.
Bamboo Straws – All natural straws made from bamboo stalks. They are light, reusable, completely natural and once not in use, they just degrade.
Paper Straws – No they don’t go all soggy when put into a drink. They are made from recycled paper and are robust enough to stand a drink. They are for one time use and degrade after the use.
Stainless Steel Straw – These reusable straws ask for a one-time investment.  They are strong, durable, easy-to-carry, sometimes even designer and easy to wash too. They generally come in sets with a tiny cleaner to clean them and do not rust. One can carry these personal straws anywhere and enjoy their drink.
Glass Straw – This one is classy. It is reusable and very clear. So if one is worried about the cleanliness, this should fit their bill, because a dirty glass straw is hard to miss. They can be easily cleaned using small cleaners made for them or even washed in a dishwasher. And yes, they can be colorful too.
Silicone Straw – If one is worried about steel straws being too hard and glass straws being breakable, silicone straws are the best. Made from food grade silicone, these are reusable and easy to clean and work best with kids who tend to chew the straws. Although their recycling is tough, they still are a sustainable choice over plastic straws.
Papaya Leaf Stem Straw – A straw can’t get natural and fresh than this. If one has access to papaya tree, just pluck a stem, cut off the ends and wash off the sap. The straw is ready to use and goes well with natural juices like coconut water and fresh fruit juices.
Hay Straw – Hay Straw or Straw Straw is made of hay i.e. dried wheat stem. Once the produce, wheat and/or corn, are harvested, their stem or straw is hand cut to make the drinking straws. They can be used more than once and are easily degradable.
Edible Straw – Made up of gelatin, cassava starch sugar, and water, these edible straws let one drink and act as a snack too. They come in flavors ranging from chocolate to lemon. These are hard and can stand the drink for around half an hour to one hour. Even if they are not eaten, they degrade in a matter of few hours. Some startups are also trying to make edible straws from seaweed.
No Straw Cups – These cups let you drink straight out of them by specially designed lids. These lids are reusable and biodegradable and are designed to look like the top of a Sippy Cup. So the consumer has the option of either having the drink with the lid on or without it.
Straws might look like just a tiny bit of plastic but considering that a country like USA alone uses more than a million straws in a day makes it one giant issue. These alternatives to the plastic straw let one make a difference one sip at a time.

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