Plastic straws are increasingly banned worldwide, as their shape and size slips through recycling systems to end up in the sea where they puncture (or get stuck up nostrils) of marine wildlife. You could always use your lips? But some people (esp. with medical conditions) use straws.
Avoid metal straws for medical conditions and children nor use on the run) as they are not flexible.
bamboo drinking straws in hessian carry case
Jungle Culture bamboo straws are sold in a set of 6, in a hessian carry case. Handmade by a small artisan family farm in rural Vietnam, these straws are strong and durable, and dishwasher-safe. The set includes a cleaning guide and eco craft box. The straws are suitable for juice, soda and cocktails, with extra-wide straws for smoothies and mylkshakes. Don’t leave bamboo straws in water, as they will biodegrade away!
Bamboo is the world’s fastest-growing grass (if you sat there for a few hours, you would see it growing in front of you). As strong as steel, unlike forest trees (which take 30 to 40 years to mature enough to harvest, resulting in wildlife losing homes or old-growth forests being replaced by fast-growing saplings), bamboo can be harvested in a year. Industrial (moso) bamboo is not the same as the fresh shoots eaten by pandas.
You can therefore see the appeal of bamboo as a sustainable crop. However it’s not local (you can grow bamboo in England, but it would need enclosed spaces, as an invasive crop). So it has to be shipped or air-freighted from Asia (some companies blend bamboo with chemicals, so be aware of this). It’s a good material for zero-waste staples, but anything over-planted to keep up with demand creates ‘monocultures’.
This has happened with palm oil (forests home to orangutans being chopped down to replace with fast-growing palm plantations). And flammable eucalyptus trees being over-planted to make ‘biodegradable packaging – areas of Spain and Portugal have already banned new plantations, due to increasing wildfires. European-grown Tencel (a wood fibre) is also flammable. The problem is that when something gets popular, industry goes mad and starts planting ‘more of the source’ than is good for nature and wildlife. As the answer with everything – simple living and buying less!
silicone straws from The Netherlands
This set of multi-coloured silicone straws includes a cup guide to help you cut to size for rocks glasses, old-fashioned whisky glasses, short tumblers, cocktail glasses or for children’s drinks. The straws are dishwasher-safe and sold with a cleaning pouch and cotton bag. Sent in a brown paper string envelope.
colourful silicone straws in tins
The Silicone Straw Co makes colourful reusable straws, to reduce the mountain of plastic waste. Silicone does contain fossil fuels (and sand) but does not break down into microplastics, and is the closest you’ll get to the ‘colourful plastic straw’ in feel and appearance. The company also makes leakproof travel tins, so you can just whip out your straw when you need it, and carry it around when you don’t. Ideal to avoid soggy straw situations, invented by a female engineer.
These straws not only look good but can be used with hot drinks. They are thicker than the average silicone straw. You can even snip these straws to your desired length with a pair of scissors. Then use their cleaning brush with hot water and a drop of washing up liquid to clean in the straw, or just pop them in the dishwasher. Made in the UK with medical-grade silicone, you can return them to the maker, and they send batches off to be recycled into other things.
biodegradable straws (made from pasta!)
Stroodles designed to last 1 hour, and are ideal for cold drinks (not hot, they would go soggy). Made in Italy, the durum wheat straw can be composted after use, or just cook and eat! Not for gluten allergies (or children/swallowing difficulties due to choking hazard uncooked). The edible cups, bowls and cutlery taste like Ryvita!