By now it’s no secret what single-use plastic straws are doing to our environment. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the infamous statistic of 500 million or a more conservative 390 million per day, single-use plastic straws are filling up our oceans and landfills with plastic waste.
Fortunately, for the sake of sea turtles and other aquatic wildlife, people are taking a stand. There is a movement of people who are choosing to go plastic-free and refuse the straw. Sip after sip, drink after drink.
Reusable straws are now readily available by many manufacturers which are made from a variety of eco-friendly materials. With so many choices, I’d like to share with you some of the most eco-friendly, functional, and convenient ones out there.
So, what are the best reusable drinking straws?
1. Hummingbird Glass Straws
Now when I first heard of the idea of using glass straws, I didn’t think they would be very reliable. It sounds so dangerous, a glass straw that could easily chip or break off into your drink. The people at Hummingbird Glass Straws have changed that. Hummingbird Glass Straws (link to read reviews on Amazon) are the strongest reusable glass straws you can find. Upon feeling one in your hand you’ll notice that it’s thick, durable, and can even withstand a drop.
The crystal clear glass is a treat to the eye and a compliment to any drink, hot or cold. They are handmade in the USA, free from any chemicals or toxins so no worries about any chemicals leaching into your beverages. Dishwasher safe, this 4-pack of reusable glass straws comes with a brush included, so clean up is a breeze. A high-quality eco-friendly product, made by a high-quality eco-friendly brand, Hummingbird Glass Straws offer styles in different colors in both bent and straight styles.
2. Hiware Stainless Steel Straws
Stainless-steel water bottles have risen in popularity with many people moving away from potentially toxic BPA plastic water bottles. The same goes for reusable drinking straws. As a nearly indestructible material, stainless steel straws can take a beating, withstanding dropping and repeated usage. Their polished attractiveness makes them serve as excellent straws for cocktails, tumblers, juices, or just about anything else.
Hiware Stainless Steel Straws (link to read reviews on Amazon) are made from 18/8 food-grade stainless steel which is non-toxic, BPA-free, and shiny complement to any beverage. This 12-pack of stainless steel straws offers great value with a selection of two different length sizes in both bent and straight styles. Hiware also offers a selection of different colored polishes to liven up any party. Stainless steel is the most durable choice of material and the perfect plastic-free gateway into using reusable straws.
3. Flathead Reusable Silicone Straws
Think of silicone as a much more functional and ocean-friendly alternative to plastic. It’s able to withstand both hot and cold temperatures, without the worry of a toxic chemical like BPA (bisphenol-A) leaching into your food or drink.
Flathead Reusable Silicone Straws (link to read reviews on Amazon) are the best silicone reusable straws available. Made from BPA-free food-grade silicone, they have a rubbery and flexible texture, but are strong enough to be used with any type of drink including coffee, smoothies, cocktails, or your on-the-go tumbler. This 10-pack of straws carries great value and includes a carrying case and cleaning brush. The best part is that if your straw is too long for your drink of choice, you can simply cut it down to your desired length with a pair of scissors. The flexibility of reusable silicone straws allows you to carry them in your bag worry-free of any breaking.
4. Softy Straws Silicone Straws
Get the kids going plastic-free too! I’ve always encouraged my children to refuse the single-use plastic straw when necessary. Giving them ownership of their own reusable straw set is a great way to get them excited about being environmentally conscious.
Softy Straws Silicone Straws (link to read reviews on Amazon) are a kid-friendly reusable straw made from FDA-approved food-grade silicone, so you won’t have to worry about any potential chipped teeth, eye pokes, or broken glass. They come in a selection of vibrant and playful colors that will keep children excited about sipping their favorite beverage. Instead of a typical cleaning brush, they include a unique silicone straw squeegee that can simply be inserted into the straw and pulled through to clear out any residue stuck inside.
5. Lemun Bamboo Straws
One of the world’s most eco-friendly materials is bamboo. It has natural antibacterial properties and is the world’s fastest-growing plant making it an incredibly renewable resource. Bamboo straws are an eco-friendly alternative that’s been growing in popularity amongst reusable straw drinkers.
Lemun Bamboo Straws (link to read reviews on Amazon) are the most eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic straws. You’ll be able to tell that each straw is uniquely handmade from 100% natural bamboo, as the color, texture, and diameter will be slightly different. They are simple to clean with the included brush but make sure you keep them out of the dishwasher. Bamboo will last much longer when it’s washed with just warm water and mild soap. A unique and eye-catching straw perfect for your summer drink of choice.
6. Mosscoff Copper Straws
Are you a fan of Moscow Mules? Every copper mug needs the perfect copper complement! Save the ugly single-use plastic straw for never. Unlike other “copper straws” on the market which just use colored stainless steel, Mosscoff Copper Straws (link to read reviews on Amazon) are made from 100% real copper.
Each straw is lightly covered in a food-safe lacquer and has a brilliant shiny and silky copper finish. The edges are smoothly finished so no irritation on your mouth when drinking but instead an icy cold sensation on your lips as you sip your cocktail. An excellent choice for the at-home bartender as they can also double as stirrers. Impress your party guests with the perfect pairing to a delicious cold Moscow Mule in a copper mug.
7. Doboli Collapsible Stainless Steel Straws
Could you ever take the eco-friendly step of “refusing the straw” even when you’re at restaurants? There is now a clever invention that makes the straw refusal easier than ever. Doboli Collapsible Stainless Steel Straws (link to read reviews on Amazon) features a small, lightweight, and portable design so you can take your reusable straw with you on the go. Any place. Any time.
Just slightly under the size of your average smartphone (4.3 inches/11cm) easily opens and closes and is adjustable up to 9.25 inches (23.5cm). Although it’s collapsible it still carries durability as it’s made from food-grade stainless steel. It comes with an aluminum storage case with a convenient carabiner and cleaning brush. Sold in a 2-pack and available in a wide variety of sleek matching colors, these are a must-have for anyone who is serious about refusing the single-use straw.
8. Yoocaa Reusable Silicone Collapsible Straws
Take your reusable collapsible straw to the next level with this silicone option. Complete with a pocket-sized carrying case no bigger than the palm of your hand, Yoocaa Reusable Silicone Collapsible Straws (link to read reviews on Amazon) are a great choice for those who prefer the functional flexibility of a silicone straw.
The food-grade silicone straw easily folds and fits into the lightweight carrying case right alongside the accompanying cleaning brush. Since the straw is being stored in a tight and compact place, it’s important you fully clean this one after each use to avoid any potential bacteria build-up. This is a unique option that will definitely get you questions followed by compliments when you bring this out in public.
9. ALINK Extra-Wide Silicone Straws
Calling all smoothie drinkers! Ever get annoyed with trying to suck down a thick smoothie through a straw that’s just way too thin? Enter the wide-mouth reusable straw.
The ALINK Extra-Wide Silicone Straws (link to read reviews on Amazon) are .41 inches (10.4mm) in diameter, which is more than wide enough for the thickest of milkshakes, smoothies, or bubble tea. Made from 100% BPA-free food-grade silicone, these reusable straws are non-toxic and free from any strange synthetic smell or taste. A soft feel against your teeth and lips these have a very flexible and rubbery like texture will not split or crack with repeated use. The best choice for a wide-mouth straw on-the-go.
How to Clean Your Reusable Drinking Straws
Surprisingly, cleaning your reusable drinking straws is a painless experience. Most reusable straws are dishwasher-safe but sometimes that’s not enough to ensure the inside is free of any residue or buildup. In order to prolong the life of your straws and prevent any potential bacteria, a simple cleaning and a good brushing will usually do the trick. Just follow these simple instructions and you can be done in less than 5 minutes:
- Rinse the inside – the sooner you can do this after using, the better. This will prevent any residue from building up on the inside. Cap your finger at the bottom of the straw and place the top of the straw under the hot water running from the faucet. Allow the straw to fill up, then release your finger to let the water run through. Do this several times until you feel that the hot water has sufficiently been run through. If you still notice that there is any smoothie or juice residue, you can blow some air through to clear it out.
- Scrub the inside – add a small amount of dish soap to your brush then push it through the straw. Scrub vigorously up and down the straw. Don’t forget to scrub the openings where you put your mouth and on the outside of the straw. Repeat this again from the other side of the straw.
- Add baking soda – this is an optional step for a more thorough cleaning and will give you some extra scrubbing help. Sprinkle a pinch of baking soda on top of the cleaning brush and repeat step two.
- Rinse – when you are done scrubbing, run the straw under hot water for another minute to clean out any extra dish soap or baking soda that may be remaining.
If you accidentally let your straws go uncleaned (it happens) and they have old residue or mold inside, you will need to soak the straws more sufficiently before starting this process. Simply fill your kitchen sink halfway with warm soapy water and fully submerge the dirty straws by placing a dish on top of them. Let them soak for 10 minutes to loosen up the mold or residue, then you can move onto scrubbing with your cleaning brush.
Storing Your Straws
Pat dry the outside of your reusable straws with a dishcloth and let them air dry naturally. This works best by placing them at an angle in the dish rack or along the sidewall of the sink or kitchen counter. Avoid storing your straws until they are fully dry on the inside. Doing this can cause a buildup of moisture and bacteria. Keep your reusable straws stored in a well-ventilated place and avoid putting them in airtight containers.
Choosing to refuse the straw and go plastic-free is actually easier than ever. Many establishments and municipalities are beginning to put a ban on single-use plastics like the straw. It won’t be long before they are banned completely. Even Starbucks has opted away from using single-use plastic straws and uses a strawless lid. Now, this isn’t the complete answer to solving the problem of plastic pollution but for large corporations, it’s a huge step.
The great news is that you are in control of what you consume and the plastic waste you will produce. Go plastic-free, refuse the straw, and find your perfect reusable alternative.