Plastic drinking straws are a problem. Fortunately, from reusable straws made from glass or stainless steel to disposable straws made from paper, there are plastic-free straw options for those who want to avoid plastic straws but are not willing to give up straws entirely.
Paper Drinking Straws
While on my trip this week, I visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom and discovered paper straws. Yep. Disney offers guests Aardvark paper straws at its Animal Kingdom park to protect the animals from ingesting plastic straws that, despite the Disney staff’s best efforts, might escape into the environment. (Unfortunately, Disney uses plastic straws in its other parks.)
These paper straws are not the flimsy things we had in elementary school back in the day. They are sturdy and hold up until your drink is finished.
According to Aardvark’s website, the straws are made from “a thick paper, then coated to protect them from liquid.” I wanted to know what that coating was, so I emailed the company. Their response: Aardvark straws are “made from FDA food grade materials (paper/wax/adhesive).” In addition, they are “biodegradable, compostable and made in the USA.”
I don’t think it’s a perfect straw. Regardless of whether the materials are safe, it’s still a single-use disposable product. But I do think that in a big group situation where straws will be used, they are a good alternative to plastic. Maybe at a school?
I carry with me a reusable Glass Dharma drinking straw. It’s a great conversation starter, and when I pull it out at a restaurant, it helps the server remember not to bring me a disposable straw. Glass Dharma straws also some with their own cleaning brush. Read my full review of Glass Dharma drinking straws here.
Stainless Steel straws
Some people are wary of glass, worrying that it will break. I’ve never broken a glass straw, but I can imagine that they might not hold up in the hands of kids. A better option for those folks might be stainless steel straws. My only issue with a stainless steel straw is that since you can’t see through it, it’s hard to know if it’s clean or not.
Whatever your choice, just remember to ask for no plastic straw.