How To Choose The Best Alternative To A Plastic Straw?

The plastic Straw: A brief history

Alternative to plastic straws

To understand more about the best plastic straw alternative, let us rewind a little bit. The royals had used metal straws to sip liquid in the various parts of the world. Since metals straws were expensive, it was not adopted by the masses and then paper straws became popular. The issue with paper straws were that it used to get soggy. Plastic straws overcame these shortcomings has unique advantages over the paper straws since it did not get soggy and ensured proper intake of fluids from a tumbler. These advantages coupled with mass production possibility and low cost made plastic straws ubiquitous. People use plastic straws 99% of the times

Plastic Straws

Daily usage of plastic straws is around 500 million in united states alone. 8 billion plastic straws gets washed to the shores around worldwide. That’s an enormous number. Environmentalists around the world has expressed concerns in multiple forums.

Aren’t Plastic straws recyclable? 

Can’t we recycle the plastic straws? This is the first thing that comes to our mind when we see the huge number of plastic straws on the shores. Most recycling machines are not capable of recycling a plastic straw given its size and residue matter inside the walls of the straw. Straws generally fall into the cracks of the recycling machine due to small size and this becomes a challenge. Progressive governments started banning the use of plastic straws.

Best plastic straw alternatives

Lets us look at different alternatives for plastic straws

  • Paper Straws
  • Metal Straws
  • Wooden Straws
  • Silicone Straws
  • Glass Straws

Paper Straws

Paper Straws as a plastic straw alternative

Paper straws comes in variety of colors and it It is an excellent replacement for plastic straw for one time use and ideal for kids


  • It is environmentally friendly
  • Paper straws are the next best option for 1 time use straw considering the price
  • Cheaper compared to metal and glass straws
  • Kids safe


  • Gets soggy after use Blocks thick fluid when folded
  • Not suitable for hot drinks – Hot drinks cause the paper straws to lose shape faster

Let us look at how does paper straw fair as a plastic straw alternative

Plastic Straw Vs Paper Straws

Metal Straws: Most durable alternative to plastic straws

Metal straws historically were a royal utensil. Copper straw was a popular choice in many parts of the world in the ancient times. Now a days stainless steel is the most

Only 3% of the metal straws are disposed in 5 years compared to 100% of the plastic straws.


  • Reusability
  • Durability
  • Environmentally friendly: The metal straws better for the environment compared to the plastic straws 
  • Dishwasher safe


  • Expensive compared to plastic straws
  • Taste: It develops metal taste after a while
  • Not Kids safe: Have sharp edges
  • Thermal conductor – Not suitable for hot drinks
  • Unable to see through: Always a doubt whether it is clean or not

Let us look at the comparison between metal straws and plastic straws

Metal Straws Vs Plastic Straws ; Best plastic straw alternatives
Metal Straws Vs Paper Straws

Wooden Straws

Wooden straw as a plastic straw alternative
Photo by abillion on Unsplash

Bamboo is the most common material used for wooden straws. Bamboo straws are environmental friendly and it is a great choice for your farm houses and resorts


  • Biodegradable material
  • Cheaper compared to metal straws
  • No issue with hot fluids unlike metal straws


  • Not dishwasher safe – bamboo absorbs liquids and hence more difficult to clean
  • No bend variety available 
  • Not long lasting compared to metal, silicone or glass straws
  • Not of the same size and shape

Silicone Straw: the kids safe alternative to plastic straws 

You can bend and chew them. Kids love them. Silicon straws are a great alternative to plastic straws if you have kids at home


  • Dishwasher safe
  • Kids friendly and senior citizen safe
  • Travel safe


  • Not able to see through
  • Bends too much for some type of thick fluids

Glass Straws: the aesthetically appealing alternative to plastic straws

Glass straws are very popular these days in cafes and also in households.


  • Comes in variety of colors and shapes
  • They are see through so that we can be sure that they are clean
  • Can be used for both hot and cold drinks
  • The edges are rounded and is not sharp like metal straws


  • Not travel friendly 
  • Not Kids safe
  • Breakable
Glass Straws Vs Plastic Straws


Plastic straws are widely used in the world and we need to think of alternatives to plastic straws due to the environmental impacts. Finding the right alternative depends on your use case

  • If you are looking for a single use straws then paper straws can be a good alternative
  • If you are looking for a kids / seniors citizen safe straws, then silicon straws are a great option
  • If you want to travel and needs straw, the metal straws are the best option for you
  • Glass straws are the most aesthetically appealing for your dinning table and will go along with great dinning sets
  • Glass straws are great if you are buying for restaurants and cafes since people would see that it is clean
  • Wooden straws are a great option if you are environmentally conscious

Please let us know in the comments section which straw did you eventually choose.

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