The Eco Friendly Drinking Straws of the Future

With the recent ban of plastic straws coming into force this week, a viable sustainable product is needed to replace the 4.7 billion plastic straws that are used annually in the UK alone. Alternatives on the market currently such as paper, bamboo and metal straws all have their drawbacks with many still opting to use plastic straws prior to the ban. After the ban, eco friendly drinking straws that consumers find affordable and are comfortable to use is what is needed.

Current Alternatives

In the UK alone we use 4.7 billion single-use plastic drinking straws annually which is why environmental campaigners have celebrated this new ban coming into force. The three widely used eco friendly drinking straws: Paper Straws, Bamboo Straws and Metal Straws all have their drawbacks. Paper Straws are sold at a low price point but have the drawback of going soggy when used which can ruin the drinking experience. Bamboo Straws are an environmentally friendly option but come at a higher cost, approximately £ 1.00 per straw. Cleaning is also required which can make bamboo straws an unhygienic option if this is not done every use. The straw itself will last an estimated 6 months if maintained. Metal straws are an expensive option costing approximately £ 1.50 - £ 2.00 per straw. There is also a possible chance of severe injury due to the rigid nature of the metal straw (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/11/world/europe/metal-straws-death.html). Like Bamboo Straws, Metal Straws also need to be cleaned after use, but these are easier to clean than their Bamboo counterparts

Paper Straws

Bamboo Straws

Metal Straws

Table 1: The drawbacks to various materials used for drinking straws

Using table 1 each ‘X’ under the category has been assigned a score of 1, the material used for the straws then has a score out of 5. The higher the score means the materials has more possible drawbacks. As you can see in Table 2 the material with the least downside is wheat which scores 1. With Wheat Straws the only drawback is the very minimal risk posed through potential choking; the actual straw is made using wheat so if chewed pieces would break off, similarly, to chewing on a Paper Straw.

Table 2: : The scores of the materials

Straws of the Future

Eco friendly drinking straws used as a replacement such as Wheat Straws are the future as an alternative to plastic straws when compared to the other options. Wheat Straws have the least downside based on the indicators used in Table 1 only scoring a 1 out of 5. Although Wheat Straws are not a reusable straw as they are single use; much like their plastic predecessors. However, unlike Plastic Straws, Wheat Straws are eco friendly drinking straws as they are 100% biodegradable decreasing the pollution that resulted from the wide use of Plastic Straws. Wheat Straws have the second lowest price point, just slightly more per straw than Paper Straws but as the wheat used is none porous there is no sogginess even after hours of use making them the perfect eco friendly drinking straw. 

Wheat Straws are eco friendly drinking straws as they use the wheat stem which is left as a farming by-product after the grains have been harvested. This use of a farming by-product means no virgin forest needs to be deforested to create room to grow the base material for Wheat Straws as there is huge availability from current farms where these stems are predominantly burnt our used as animal bedding as the stem has no real value. Giving these stems a use will reduce the pollution from burning the waste stems and offering a viable alternative to single-use plastic straws.

Plastic Straws were so popular due to the convenience they offered and in turn Paper Straws also offered this same level of convenience as most consumers do not want to have to clean a straw after each use. The next step in the generation of drinking straws are these new Wheat Straws which offer the same level of convenience without the drawbacks of Paper Straws. Why not give them a try and use a 100% biodegradable alternative.

Wheat Straws

Wheat Straws for Cocktails