Many states in Malaysia will ban single-use plastic straws. This is a good news to a lot of restaurant operators because it will reduce their cost.
We can definitely do without the straws. But I always have this philosophy that - if you want to embrace zero waste lifestyle, incorporate small steps into your current lifestyle. Don't go for a drastic change because you won't be enjoying the sudden evolvement. So, if you are used to drinking with straws, look for an alternative to those single-use plastic straws that we have gotten used to.
In this post, I have 5 different straws to compare and I have ranked it according to my preference. Of course, you can always choose the reusable straws that suit your own preference.
#1 Stainless Steel Straw
My ultimate favorite is the stainless steel straws. I believe that stainless steel straw is easily acceptable because we have gotten used to using eating utensils like spoon and fork from stainless steel materials. It is durable, easy to clean and probably last forever.
There was an article circulating somewhere on the internet that the stainless steel materials are not harvested in an eco-friendly way. I totally disagree with the article because we have been harvesting the raw material for many reasons - construction, semiconductor, automobile, and other industries are relying on stainless steel. If the material is made into straws for each person on this planet, it would take up less than 0.001% of the harvest raw material. The idea is having 1 stainless steel straw for you to use it over and over again. Unless we are using the stainless steel straws as single-use straw, then there is a problem with
#2 Glass Straws
I also love glass straws, except it isn't durable as stainless steel straws. I avoid bringing it out because I'm afraid it might break in my bag after knocking and friction inside the case. While at home, I'm afraid the kids might drop it. The only problem with the glass straw is the fragile nature.
Other than that, glass straw is great for those who are OCD on the cleanliness of the inside of the straw. You can see clearly if there is something stuck in it. Glass is also aesthetically beautiful when serving juices or coloured drinks.
#3 Bamboo Straws
Some may argue that bamboo straw is the most eco-friendly and sustainable straw of all. I think that depends on the production itself. We can't use the bamboo as straw in its raw form. There is a few steps of the process that needs to be done. Some manufacturer might add bleaching or chemical in the cleaning process. Plus, the hollow of the straw needs to be smoothed out. Plus, the bamboo straws won't last forever as compared to stainless steel or glass (provided it doesn't break).
I don't prefer the bamboo straw as much as stainless steel and glass because there is debris of the bamboo which might be caught inside the straw. Plus, it isn't the most hygienic method because the pores of the bamboo can trap some bacteria if not cleaned properly. Most of all, I don't like it that we have to keep harvesting and process the bamboo just for drinking. For this fact, I don't think I would rate it as the eco-friendly straw. Anyway, that is my take on the eco-friendly or zero-waste concept. Of course, you can have different thoughts about it.
#4 Paper Straws
Paper straws shouldn't be on the top priority when looking for an alternative to plastic straws because it is also a single-use product. However, it is easier to decompose, which makes it better than plastic straws. In the event that you need to serve straws in a bigger scale, such as at parties, paper straw is a good solution.
I also find it convenient to have when you're staying in hospital or at office. In the situation where I don't have the time to wash my reusable straws, I would opt for paper straws.
#5 The Last Straws
The worst reusable straw of all is the Last Straw. You probably have seen this going viral on social media and gained lots of backers on Kickstarter.
First thing first, the production of the straw involves a lot of materials - plastic for the box, stainless steel for the straw structure and rubber for the straw backbone. When there are so many materials involved, the process of making the straw also becomes more complicated. In most cases, the product will be sent to a different manufacturer to complete each part. This increases the carbon footprint.
I seriously don't advocate the Last Straw as an eco-friendly straw. Although they have good marketing and brand presence, it really isn't eco-friendly. If you understand how manufacturing works, you'll totally detest the concept of Last Straw as eco-friendly.
In terms of practicality, I don't see it as good as other straws. The rubber works as the backbone of the straw where you drink from and it has a stainless steel casing to hold the structure. There is a gap in between the two and this gap allows water to trap in there. There is no way you can clean it. The brush that provided only cleans the inner part of the rubber. Imagine all the sugary water getting stuck in between the stainless steel and rubber.
The only good thing about the Last Straw is the casing. It is small and compact which is convenient to carry around. But for all the negative reasons discussed above, I won't be using this.
I often carry my stainless steel straws or glass straws in my straw case. It's made of plastic, which is super durable. I've been using it for almost a year now, and it still working perfectly fine. Someone suggested me to use bamboo case. I tried, but it doesn't last more than a month, then the cover cracked.
Sometimes when I can't wash my straws, I just throw it into the case and wash it when I'm home. It's really convenient.
Stainless steel straw + brush = RM 12.90 from wanderlustthings.comReusable straw case = RM12.90 from wanderlustthings.comGlass straw + brush = RM8.90 from wanderlustthings.comBamboo straw + brush = RM4.90 from wanderlustthings.comPaper straw from Shopee
Last Straw = USD14.90 from thefoldingstraw.com