According to EcoCycle.org, we use a mind-boggling 500 million straws each day. In fact, the straws and stirrers make up nearly 10 percent of all plastic products found in the environment, according to Better Alternatives Now, or BAN 2.0. And, as previously reported, those disposable plastic straws end up sitting at the bottom of landfills and polluting marine life where it will stay for hundreds of years.
Across the country, businesses, and entire cities, are now calling to ban straws. Cities like Santa Cruz, Calif., Miami Beach, Fl., Seattle, Wash., and Malibu have already banned or limited the use of these single-use suckers. Other cities, including New York City, are currently in the process of introducing legislation. Starbucks and McDonald’s have also joined the conversations.
Even locally, a growing number of Twin Cities businesses have eliminated their use, including the Dakota Jazz Club and Ice House. If you’d like a straw at First Avenue and 7th Street Entry, you’ll have to specifically request it.
This growing anti-plastic straw movement provides a great opportunity for us to say no to plastic both at home and on-the-go. Read on for five eco-friendly alternatives that have less of an impact on the environment.
These straws are a great option for those who can’t get over the feel of plastic straws. They also don’t transfer heat and won’t break down on those who like chewing on straws. The best part? Instead of throwing them away when you’re done, you can simply light it and burn it down into biodegradable ash. Try the Koffie Straw at Amazon.
These may seem a little odd on first use, but this one-time use option is biodegradable and often made from recycled and renewable sources. They work especially great for events and gatherings. These are by far the easiest to find locally including at Walmart and Target.
Stainless steel, aluminum and titanium straws are among the most durable of options and offer travel-friendly designs. You can find folding, collapsible and bent options that are reusable and dishwasher safe. Be careful, though, as a hot drink can heat up your straw, too. We found a Greens Steel four-pack for $10 on Amazon.
Did you know before paper and plastic straws, people drank beverages through stalks of grain? You can still buy these biodegradable straws from such sites as HarvestStraws.com.
These all-natural straws are made with sustainable and renewable materials and without dyes or chemicals. While reusable, they have a limited shelf life and must be hand-washed and laid out to dry in a well-ventilated location to prevent mold. You can find these in Bloomington at BambooMN.
Glass straws are a great option for those who find clear straws appealing or just want a more elegant look. However, they are also the priciest, ringing in at nearly $40 and up. They also require a bit of extra care as they can break. Want in? Try Moss Envy in Minneapolis.
Stephenetta Harmon is a Black beauty editor, curator, and digital media and communications expert who builds platforms to celebrate the power, impact, and business of Black beauty. She is the former EIC for Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (2018-19) and current host of MSR Forefront, a digital roundtable series. She is the founder of Sadiaa Black Beauty Guide, the premier directory dedicated to Black-owned hair and beauty businesses. Find her at stephenetta.com.