There’s a good chance that you’ve probably been using disposable plastic straws so long now that you don't even think twice about using them. Every fast food soda or iced coffee you’ve ever ordered probably came with one, sometimes tossed into the bag whether requested or not. Seems like no big deal. These straws are so little, what difference does it make? Plus, they’re plastic – plastic stuff is recyclable, right?
Unfortunately, while a lot of plastic products can be recycled, your typical disposable plastic straws are not one of them. That’s because plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter that recycling plants use. They drop through sorting screens, mix with the other larger materials, and wind up contaminating recycling loads. Instead, plastic straws end up in landfills. No matter how small these straws may seem, if you get enough of them together they add up…. and Americans use a whopping 500 million straws a day.
So, consider an alternative in collapsible metal straws! These handy stainless steel straws* are relatively inexpensive and can be used over and over. Enjoy delicious Healthy Living smoothies (like the one in this Berrylicious Strawberry Smoothie Recipe) knowing that you’re doing your part for a Healthy Living Earth too! Here are just some of the benefits of using collapsible metal straws.
We’ve discussed the environmental benefits of switching to collapsible metal straws from disposable plastic ones, but it bears repeating! Did you know that straws are among the top 10 items found during beach clean ups? That makes them a major threat to marine and bird life around the world. And it’s a problem that’s not going away, estimates say that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
Many varieties of plastic straws are made with Bisphenol A (BPA), a dangerous industrial chemical used since the 1960s. Collapsible metal straws are BPA-free.
Collapsible metal straws are perhaps the most popular substitute for disposable plastic straws, but they’re not the only alternative.
Glass straws bring a lot of class and elegance to the table, but glass (particularly thin glass) also has a tendency to…. well, break. This makes them a poor (and possibly dangerous) choice as a sustainable straw option, especially for kids.
You may have also seen bamboo straws (and they can be fun if you’re planning a luau) but they’re also susceptible to breaking. Even worse, they can taint your drink with the wood from the straw and even effect the taste.
Have you ever tried to drink a milkshake or smoothie (or similarly thick beverage) through a typical plastic straw and had to give up and ditch the straw when it just wasn’t cutting it? That’s because, plastic straws have comparatively weak tensile strength. Metal straws, on the other hand, don’t have that problem. In fact, you could pierce an orange with a stainless steel straw and drink the juice right from the source.
Stainless steel straws also allow your cold drinks to stay cold longer. That’s because steel retains the temperature of your drink, stopping it from melting down. A particularly cold stainless straw could even double as an ice cube, without watering down your drink!
If the thought of maintaining a collapsible metal straw for reuse sounds like a big hassle – rest assured, it’s a cinch. Because most metal straws are dishwasher safe, you can just toss them in with the rest of your dishes and utensils and you’re good to go.
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