Ditch the Ex(straw) Plastic

Plastic. The most abundant material that is currently suffocating all bodies of water and is damaging multiple ecosystems. The war on plastic is at an all time high with landfills as tall as skyscrapers as well as it plaguing the vast ocean since it is dispersed ubiquitously. 


Specifically, a plethora of plastic straws land in oceans, and end up suffocating and choking marine animals. Thus, damaging the entire ecosystem and environment. Ultimately, it is affecting human well-being all around the world. Plastic contains chemicals, which heavily pollute the water sources – oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams – that humans consume. 


It is no lie that it is hard to break habits, but people have recently been very conscious of the environment. Because of this, there have been some significant changes made in people’s daily lives. One of those being the use of alternative straws. 


A popular alternative are metal straws, which are made of stainless steel, aluminum, or even titanium, which makes them very sturdy. Thus, they can be reused many times. However, they can have a metallic taste, be hot when drinking a hot drink, and clank against one’s teeth. 


Another common alternative are hard plastics, which are very similar to plastic straws. They are reusable, portable, easy to clean, and mostly durable. Nevertheless, if they are found in a body of water, they can have the same effect as plastic straws where they can harm marine life. 


Because there are so many alternatives to plastic straws, public places have been swapping out the plastic straws for other ones such as paper and metal straws. 


Restaurants are starting to use paper straws more often. However, this alternative absorbs liquid over time, becomes mushy quickly, and can leave a taste of paper. 


Some unconventional alternatives include silicone, glass, and bamboo straws. 


Silicone straws provide a softer alternative to metal straws and when burned, it turns into biologically inert ash. When disposed of in a body of water, it will not harm marine life or the environment. A disadvantage to silicone straws are that they are quite expensive compared to other straws.


Glass straws hold up well and are easy to wash. On the other hand, they are more likely to break and less portable than other reusable straws. 


Bamboo straws have a natural material that can be sustainably produced and is a plant-based alternative to fabricated straws. They are reusable and easily compostable. Nevertheless, they are very hard to clean and can absorb bamboo flavors. 


The key to saving the planet is to use reusable materials to ensure that an abundance of plastic is not harming any living thing. Alternative straws are more eco-friendly as they can be reused and can be used everywhere you are.