The Best Alternatives to Plastic Straws

We've all heard the cries to stop using plastic straws. Some local governments have banned them. Big companies like Starbucks no longer offer them and even fancy bars are now giving you your cocktails with cardboard straws (our least favorite plastic straw alternative to be honest!).

paper straws

Why to Find Alternatives to Plastic Straws

Maybe you're wondering why the world is more concerned about plastic straws than seemingly anything else.

It's estimated that up to 8.3 billion (with a B) straws pollute the beaches of the world. In the US alone, we use 50 million straws PER DAY. 

During the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup straws were one of the top 10 items discovered. 

A few general plastic statistics that might shake you into ditching all single-use plastic, not just straws:

  • 100% of baby sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs
  •  88% of the ocean's surface is polluted by plastic waste
  • More than 1 million plastic bags are thrown away in the world every minute
  • Every day 8 million pieces of plastic make their way into our oceans

What Can We Do About it?

Simply swapping out your plastic straws and single-use plastic bags won't change the world, but it's a good place to start.

At Consciously Green, we know that we alone cannot change the world, but we can build a community who cares and who continues to spread the message, and together we can pool our resources to give to the organizations that are truly making a difference.

One of our favorite charities and indeed one of the three charities that we support with your purchases is 5 Gyres. 

5 Gyres Institute is a leader in the global movement against plastic pollution with more than 10 years of expertise in scientific research and engagement on plastic pollution issues. They petition to governments, they have a seat at the table to help make greater change.

You can read more about 5 Gyres and the projects they're involved with here.

We still have to do our part each day. Every dollar you spend is a vote. Where you choose to cast your vote tells those companies, the government, and the industries you're supporting that customers want more of that. 

If we all start purchasing more sustainable products, looking into how far the products are traveling, how they are being made, what they are being packaged in, how long they are going to last, and most importantly, how they will be disposed of at the end of their life cycle, then all of these things will start mattering to the larger companies who lead the market.

3 Alternatives to Plastic Straws

We've tried a few different types of plastic straw alternatives and we are now 100% certain that we do not like cardboard straws or glass straws.

The cardboard is wonderful in how biodegradable it is, but I'd prefer it to start biodegrading after I've finished my drink. 

Glass just felt too hard to travel with and I always felt like I was only clumsy move away from cracking a tooth.

These are our favorites:

silicone straws

1. Silicone Straws

Silicone straws like these are the closest thing to having a plastic straw. They act similarly, they're soft, and they're incredibly easy to travel with. 

You can use them for both hot and cold drinks and they're perfectly safe for kids. They usually come in packs like this with multiple colors so everyone in the family can choose which one they like and they won't get them mixed up.

Shop our silicone straws here.

Boba stainless steel straws

2. Stainless Steel Straws

Similar to glass straws, I struggled to enjoy using a stainless steel straw at first. However, I love that many of them are foldable, which makes them very easy to keep in your purse or backpack for when you're out and about.

Then I found this Boba straw pack and I've never looked back. They have removable silicone mouth pieces so that you don't have to accidentally put your teeth against the straw top (I can't be the only gal who has a habit of chewing the end of the straw, right?).

They're also wider than your average straw, so you can use it not only for Boba tea, but for smoothies without anything getting caught in the straw.

Shop the boba straw pack here.

wheat straws, a plastic straw alternative

3. Wheat Straws

There are a lot of different disposable and eco-friendly plastic straw alternatives out there like papaya leaves or banana leaves. 

What we love about these wheat straws is that no manufacturing was required. This is literally what a wheat stem looks like. Usually this part of the wheat is simply disposed of, but now you can use it once or twice as a straw and then pop it straight into your home compost.

Shop the wheat straws here.