There are only 11 years left for the world to prevent environmental devastation. People are changing their lives to ease stress on the environment.

For starters, many cities are banning plastic straws. People are looking to plastic straw alternatives to cut their plastic waste.

So if you want to chuck plastic straws, consider these plastic straw alternatives.

1. Stainless Steel Straws

Stainless steel straws top our list because they last a lifetime. When you order a pack, they come with a cleaner wand to make them easy to clean.

They come in a variety of colors. Some have silicone end toppers to make sure nothing contaminates the straw.

The biggest drawback with steel straws—as with most straws—is it’s hard to tell if they’ve been properly cleaned. Still, they’re dishwasher safe, and the scrub brush makes it easy to give them a deep cleaning.

2. Glass Straws

The coolest thing about glass straws is you can tell how well they’ve been cleaned. They’re dishwasher safe and come with a scrub brush to clean them thoroughly.

Since they are glass, they can break. But usually, this will happen in the washing process. They’re likely to get bumped around with bigger, heavier objects.

Glass straws rarely break while they’re in use.

3. Bamboo Straws

Sustainably grown, durable, and beautiful, bamboo is the super-wood of the era. And bamboo straws can be used again and again. They’re even dishwasher safe!

Plus the manufacturing process doesn’t call for any harmful dyes or chemicals. They do however eventually wear down. When that happens, you can throw them in your compost where they break down in only a few months.

4. Silicone Straws

Silicone is still plastic, but since it’s reusable and can last forever, we included it. Silicone straws are good for children, disabled, or elderly. They’re a safe option for those who bang their straws against their teeth.

The soft silicone will prevent damage to your teeth, and they’re dishwasher safe.

However, the process to make silicone straws isn’t necessarily eco-friendly. You have to extract the oil, manufacture it with chemicals and dyes. But if you can keep them forever, they’re better than plastic straws.

Silicone straws also have a stickier texture, so they can be harder to clean. Be thorough with your scrubby brush. Avoid using silicone straws on thicker drinks, like milkshakes and smoothies.

5. Reusable Cup and Straw

If you have a reusable cup and straw, bring that with you! Not only will this help prevent waste from the straws you use, but it’ll also keep the to-go cup out of the landfill too.

So why is this so low on the list? Well, it’s not always practical. You always have to tote around your cup and straw. Then when you’re done? You have to tote around a dirty cup and straw until you get time to clean it.

If you’re the kind of person who carries around a water bottle, adding a reusable cup and straw can be a hassle.

6. Straw Straws

Straw straws started as a play on words. But as it turns out, they work! They’re biodegradable too, so that’s pretty cool.

Depending on the brand, these can be flimsy and lightweight, so they don’t sink to the bottom in a tall glass. They also have a really thin diameter, which makes them best for cocktails, or hot coffee.

7. Paper Straws

Paper straws are great because they’re not plastic. But they’re also not zero waste. Furthermore, paper straws sometimes contain chemicals and dyes in their manufacturing process.

They are single-use, which can be useful if you need to maintain a sterile environment. This is good for places like in a hospital or with an immunosuppressed relative. Do your research and make sure you get high-quality paper straws.

Some manufacturers create flimsy paper straws that get soggy in your drink. A high-quality paper straw won’t do that and can last for up to four hours in a cold drink.

There’s More You Can Do

In reality, plastic straws only make up about 4% of the waste in the ocean. Yes, they are damaging our sea life and strangling our filtration systems. You should switch to a reusable straw because it’s an easy lifestyle switch.

But it’s not the most effective thing you can do to protect our environment. Your personal impact can be broken down into four main categories. These are waste, diet, travel, and speaking out.

The overall amount of waste you produce has a much bigger impact than the waste from plastic straws. You don’t have to do zero-waste perfectly. We need a million people doing zero-waste imperfectly.

Get more out of the possessions you already own. Buy fewer things new, and pay attention to where the bulk of your waste comes from. Cut back where you can.

Diet is another big one. Meat is really bad for the environment and the animals who suffer to fill your plate. The Amazon rainforest is being chopped down to create more grazing land for cattle.

Transportation causes 1.9 billion tons of CO2 annually released into the atmosphere. If you can walk, bike, or take public transport, you can help to put a dent in that massive number.

Finally, you need to speak out. Talk about environmental concerns with your friends and family. Especially contact your elected officials. Make the changes you can in your life, and encourage others to do the same.

These Best Plastic Straw Alternatives Are Not the Only Option

There are a ton of plastic straw alternatives, but they’re not the only, or best, way to reduce waste. Consider making lifestyle changes overall that cut your waste.

You can also switch to biking or public transportation, and eat more locally-grown food and less meat. All of these options will have a much greater impact on helping the environment as a whole.

But any little bit you can do helps. So thanks for considering reusable straws!

Keep checking back to always know what the world is talking about.

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