Updated: Feb 3
Plastic straws and their effect on the environment has been in the news a lot, especially since a ban in different countries has started for these items to be sold. Let's take a mini deep dive into the main straw materials paper, plastic and bamboo. Straws are a product that is used daily in high amounts all over the world with a lot of restaurants changing from the original plastic to paper. Let's look at how eco-safe they actually are.
The sales of plastic straws has now been banned in England (since the 3rd of July 2021). This has been enforced due to the high amounts of waste that England was producing, each year contributing 4.1 billion plastic straws. The main reason why plastic straws have been completely abandoned was because of the harmful effects to the environment.
Plastic straws plays a role in harming marine wildlife easily mistaking the plastic for food. This could make them choke or have the animals thinking that they have a full stomach and die of starvation. Many big animals such as whales have washed up on shore with stomachs filled with plastic. Plastic also absorbs all of the pollutants chemicals in the water which is damaging to the animals that are eating them.
Plastic straws could potentially also create health issues for humans, there have been links to cause health issues such as cancer and hormone disruption.
We have seen that following the plastic straw campaign many companies and restaurants have replaced the plastic with paper. Having paper straws eliminates the issues of harming sea life as it is biodegradable and will eventually disintegrate. That being said they do prove to have its downfalls for instance it takes 91% more energy to recycle paper than plastic. It should also be noted that it takes 10% more energy to produce the paper compared to plastic.
Although paper is a recyclable product having paper being used for straws can spoil the material past being able to be reused. A Lot of major companies have faced this problem with McDonalds alone having 1.8 million straws being used daily that can't be recycled. Paper comes from trees which we all know is important to humans as it releases oxygen. Trees also store carbon from the atmosphere which reduces atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, thereby lessening climate change.
Metal (stainless steel) straws are currently the most popular option for reusable straws. Stainless steel does not rust and is superstrong. If looked after, these straws are very durable. Metal straws are also recyclable after use, making it a greener choice.
Metal straws do take a lot of energy to use - and thus its benefits are only there if they are used for a long time.
If you opt for metal straws, make sure to choose a food grade version, and do not use them in (very) hot drinks! Our straws are FDA approved and tested by SGS.
Bamboo straws are produced from organic materials and totally chemical free eliminating the risk of ingesting dangerous toxins. Being sourced from plants (officially a grass) they are more eco- friendly because they can biodegrade.
Bamboo straws also do not require machines or intensive production processes. Bamboo is a natural plant that doesn't need any chemicals to grow very quickly. Did you know that bamboo can grow around 30cm (1 feet) a day? It also improves the fertility of the soil it grows in. These straws also can last up to years if treated with care. They are one of the best reusable straws that are available as it comes directly from the earth and can go straight back. EdiBee's bamboo straws are handmade on family farms in Vietnam.