Did you know that Aussies use and throw away about 10 million plastic straws in a day?
Australia produces 2.5 tons of plastic waste every year, and approximately 84% of these go to the landfill. Among those that go into the landfill is the plastic straw which is not accepted by most recycling facilities.
Plastic straw, or plastic consumption in general, has a damaging impact on the world. In addition to the environmental pollution they can cause, plastic wastes are difficult to degrade and can be dangerous for animals. Their production is environmentally damaging, and they contain harmful substances.
Under a plan to reduce plastic waste in Australia, plastic straws are among the types of ‘single-use plastics’ that will be phased out from 2025. If you’re a business owner now looking for alternatives to plastic straws or an individual trying to make a difference with an environmentally friendly lifestyle, here are some eco friendly straws in Australia.
1.Stainless steel straws
When it comes to durability, stainless steel straws are your best choice. They can be reused many times and are safe in the dishwasher. One of their disadvantages is that these metal straws can be very hard and cause you to have chipped teeth if you bite or misuse them. If you use them with hot drinks, you may also burn your lips as they can transfer the heat.
2. Paper straws
An obvious alternative, paper straws are also light like plastic straws. They even come in various attractive designs, and they are compostable and biodegradable. These straws can also be recycled, but they are single-use and disposable. In addition, they get softer after some time when drinking using them. Paper straws can also add negatively to the flavour and your drinks, and chemicals are sometimes used to make them.
3. Silicone straws
If you don’t like hard metals, silicone straws are a softer alternative. They are made from food-grade silicon which is a non-harmful and BPA-free material. These straws are also unbreakable, so they are suitable for children. More importantly, silicone straws are reusable.
Meanwhile, one of the cons of using these alternatives is that they are not tasteless. Food may also stick to them and cause them to attract particles. This is the reason why silicone straws may not be very hygienic. Moreover, they are not biodegradable and could be difficult to recycle.
4. Bamboo straws
Bamboo straws are reusable and biodegradable. Their natural materials contain no harmful substances, and they are one of the most popular compostable straws.
Although these straws possess a particular natural antibacterial effect, they may not be suitable for the hospitality industry due to their hygienic aspects. They can be rinsed with boiling water, but are still difficult to clean. They also tend to wear out quickly and stain easily.
5. Seaweed straws
These are not usually found on the market, but they are also made from sustainable materials. Seaweed straws are safe for marine life because they decompose naturally and no harmful substances are used during production. Although they are plant-based, they can be used exactly like plastic straws. Their weight, use and mouthfeel are all similar to those of plastic ones. A drawback to these seaweed straws is that they can only be used once. They may be biodegradable, but they are not reusable.
6. Glass straws
If you want an elegant and stylish option, get some glass straws. Whether hot or cold drinks, they can give you a perfect drinking experience.
With a very positive life cycle assessment, glass straws are great alternatives to plastic straws. They are reusable and can be recycled. Their material is hygienic and does not contain any hazardous substances. Additionally, glass straws are tasteless and dishwasher-safe. You can dispose of them as waste glass. However, although they are sturdy, they can still break or be chipped off.
7. Go straw-free
This is probably the best option when possible. If you don’t have any disability or special condition that requires you to use straws, going straw-free is recommended.
Would you like to make a difference and help save the Earth? Using these alternatives to plastic straws is just some of the many ways you could do to help reduce our plastic wastes. Let’s be part of the solution and use sustainable alternatives to plastics. Make the switch now!