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6 Alternatives to Single-Use Plastic Straws

The theme for this year’s Earth Day was to end plastic pollution. The Earth Day website reminds us that every day is Earth Day. It is not a one-day-a-year event where people pick up some trash and spend time outside. It is a commitment to treat the Earth better, and we can only make a difference with continued action. You can make a small change that will help with our plastic pollution problem. Sacrifice single-use plastic straws.

Are Plastic Straws Really a Problem?

The United States consumes 500 million straws in a single day, which is enough to travel the Earth’s circumference 2.5 times a day. That comes out about 175 billion straws a year, and that is just from the United States. The amount of plastic waste we accrue just from single-use plastic straws is incredible. By refusing plastic straws at restaurants and drink shops, we can drastically reduce the amount of plastic choking our environment.

There are many alternatives to single-use plastic straws. Here are a few.

Metal

These straws are one of the best options for a single-use plastic alternative. Metal conducts temperature very easily. After a little time in the freezer, this straw makes your drink even colder—perfect for hot, summer days. They are also the most durable option available. Kids will have a hard time breaking them.

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Image Source: Pixabay

Glass

Glass is also a great conductor of temperature and a classy alternative to plastic straws. You can reduce plastic consumption in style. Glass straws are easier to break, but they are dishwasher safe.

Paper

Paper straws give a vintage look to your beverage and are biodegradable as well. If you want to use one for more than a few minutes though, try the sturdy paper ones. Paper straws tend to go soggy after a while.

Compostable/Plant-Based

There are many different straws made from compostable products. Some are made from actual straw (as in grain stalks) and others are made from bamboo shoots. Another product that is waiting for the patent is a seaweed-based straw. They are extremely compostable and will not harm our oceans if they find their way outside our landfills. These straws would be perfect to use in your own compost pile; then they can benefit your own garden and yard.

Ice

There are molds available that allow you to make straws out of water or any other liquid. All you have to do is wait for them to freeze and they will be ready. Keep in mind that they will melt after a certain amount of time, so you may have to drink quickly.

Reusable Plastic

While reusable plastic straws are not much better than single-use plastic, they are still an option. Reusing them limits the amount thrown away in a short period. Remember with these kinds of straws (as well as the other reusable straws listed above) that regular cleaning is a must. Straws can gather bacteria and make you sick if not properly cleaned.

You can also go without straws. Whatever you do, make sure you cut back on the single-use plastics you consume.

Image Source: Pixabay

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Lacey Jolley
 

I love exploring, experiencing new places, and eating good food! I'm amazed every day at how well the Earth provides for us, and I want to return the favor. I hope to help others learn how we can make our world a better, cleaner place.

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