In case you haven’t noticed, plastic straws are public enemy number one. The city of Seattle banned single-use plastic straws earlier this month, making them the latest in a series of cities to get rid of the offensive pieces of potential pollution. Miami, Oakland and Berkeley (of course, Berkeley) have already banned the “cylinders of death.” Starbucks followed up Seattle’s ban with their own announcement that they will ditch all plastic straws by 2020, eliminating waste from more than one billion straws a year.
And let me just say, it’s about damn time. If I have to watch one more baby dolphin struggle to break free from its cage of plastic straws…what’s that? That’s not what’s happening? Sorry, I thought it was a baby dolphin thing.
Overall, drinkers in the US use an estimated 500 million disposable plastic straws every single day, according to the recycling non-profit Eco Cycle. Why? Because we can’t be bothered to put a cup to our lips. We need a sucking device to make drinking easier. What’s worse, most of us don’t bother to recycle those straws. And even if we did, most recycling centers don’t accept them because they’re too difficult for their machines to sort. So, do you know where those plastic straws end up? In the oceans. (Wrapping up baby dolphins!) According to Greenpeace, 40% of the pollution in our oceans are from single-use plastic.
See, it is a baby dolphin thing!
So yeah, single-use plastic straws are the devil and more companies and cities should get rid of them. And you shouldn’t freak out about that, because there are other ways to drink your Frappuccino. You could, A) drink your beverage like an adult, straight from the rim of the cup. Or B) try one of these handy non-dolphin threatening options.
This is the most obvious alternative to single-use plastic and a lot of companies will probably gravitate towards paper as the world turns its back on the straws of our childhood. They cost more (2.5 cents compared to .5 cents for plastic) but they’re typically made from recycled materials, and they’re compostable. They’re also wicked fun. Aardvark makes customizable paper straws, so in theory, you can get a straw with your face on it. How awesome is that?
SipWell reusable stainless steel straws that, if I do say so, are pretty dope. You can get a set of four for a few bucks, and that includes the little pipe cleaner thing you use to wash them out at the end of the day. I’ve always carried my own personal straw so I can take clandestine sips of other people’s cocktails at bars. And that’s just one of the perks.
Stainless steel isn’t the only reusable material in the world of straws, Bubb Big straws are made from food-grade silicone and can be used over and over. You can even put them in the dishwasher. You can get them at Target, so you know they’re real nice.
Yes, glass. Eco Straw makes dishwasher safe, “classy” glass straws. You might want to skip this option if you’re one of those people who chew their straws.
Think glass straws are crazy? There’s a company that makes straws out of wheat. They’re 100% compostable, come in two sizes, and are hipster as shit. You can get a pack of 100 for $8.
You’re basically a man-child anyway, so why not revert to your sippy cup days. This is actually where Starbucks is going when they ditch straws in 2020—sippy cups with recyclable lids. I’m worried future civilizations will write about our fear of drinking from open cups.