Plastic Straw Ban: 8 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Plastic Straws

Did you know Americans consume 500 million straws every day? Unfortunately, it’s true. And while we try to do the right thing and recycle, the reality of plastic straws is most end up in our oceans. Because of this, many companies — and even some cities — have recently enforced a plastic straw ban that forces consumers to opt for eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws.

Thanks to their lightweight structure, straws can’t be sorted at recycling plants and end up back in the garbage. Then, during transportation they can easily blow off trucks and into the gutter (which leads to the ocean) or off waste management boats and — you guessed it — directly into the ocean. As a result, the oceans are polluted with plastic and marine life is severely impacted.

To counter this, companies and consumers are looking to eco-friendly drinking straws that can are biodegradable, reusable, or both. Up ahead, we share eight alternatives to plastic straws, including some edible options.

Pink lemonade

Paper straws are a great option for cocktail parties. | Zerbor/iStock/Getty Images

Paper straws

As one of the most popular party accessories, paper straws are excellent, eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws. Not only are they a decorative, fun option for cocktail parties, but they are also completely biodegradable, too. That said, there is a downside to paper straws. Because they’re made out of paper, many consumers complain about how soggy they can get. Because of that, they prefer to use them for parties and opt for different, more durable options at home.

Reusable bamboo straws

What’s better than biodegradable? A straw that is reusable and biodegradable. In addition to paper straws, many have made the switch to bamboo straws. This alternative to plastic straws is reusable and biodegradable, making it the ultimate eco-friendly drinking straw.

Sippy cup lids

Earlier this year, Starbucks announced its plastic straw ban and introduced an eco-friendly alternative: Sippy cup-inspired lids. The recycle lids help reduce the number of plastic straws that end up in our oceans every year and are easy to drink tea, iced coffee, and other popular Starbucks drinks from.

Starbucks To Eliminate Plastic Straws By 2020

In light of the plastic straw ban, Starbucks recently introduced sippy cup-inspired lids. | Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images

Metal straws

With several companies and cities banning plastic straws, many eco-conscious consumers have turned to metal straws as an alternative. Not only are they affordable, but they’re super easy to travel with and come in a variety of metal options such as stainless steel and copper.

Ice straws

Looking for the ultimate eco-friendly drinking straw option? Give ice straws a try! You can purchase a mold online for under $10 and make eco-friendly, single-use straws for years to come.

Glass straws

Straws made from glass are another excellent eco-friendly drinking straw option. And, get this: They are easily recycled, should you need to toss them.

Reusable plastic straws

From crazy straws to the heavy-duty plastic straws that come with reusable cups, there are many options for reusable plastic straws. And, unlike other straws — which are too lightweight to recycle — these options can be recycled once they’ve reached max usage.

Pirouette cookies

While they might not be straws in the conventional sense, pirouette cookies make for a great alternative. In fact, Starbucks even used their straw-like design for Frappuccinos back in 2015. These cookie straws probably won’t go with every beverage, but the next time you make a homemade milkshake or crave chocolate milk, swap a straw for a cookie.

Twizzlers and Red Vines

Another edible option? Twizzlers and Red Vines. Sip on a refreshing beverage, such as seltzer, with the candies by biting off each end. The simple alternative to plastic straws is not only eco-friendly, but it’s also delicious.

Water bottle

Some reusable water bottles feature heavy-duty (and reusable) plastic straws. Also, there are a handful of lids available with sippy cup-like openings and other easy-to-drink designs, making it possible to go strawless once and for all.

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