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Straws, Straws, But Which One?

How to Pick A Reusable Straw

The reusable straw revolution is an international movement that has changed the way we view this little tube that has been assisting us with our beverage consumption for decades.

It’s time we start examining the environmental impact of plastic straws in the same careful way we view and choose our other utensils. Our suggestion is to invest in some excellent quality eco-friendly straws that will last you years, rather than a single use.

Click here to See Comparison Chart for All Straw Options

But which straws are the best, you ask? If not plastic, then what’s the alternative? What’s the safest material to use? What’s the most environmentally-friendly option? Thicker, thinner, taller or shorter? How do I clean reusable drinking straws?

Not to worry, we’ve listed some of our favorite waste-busting eco-friendly straw choices below to make it easier as you make the change to a waste-free lifestyle.

Stainless Steel

For starters, steel is stain resistant, oxidation-free, and virtually unbreakable, which is pretty amazing. Stainless steel straws are sleek and will last the longest out of all the plastic straw alternatives. And your hot tea or coffee that you don’t want staining your beautiful pearly whites? No worries when you drink up daily through a heat-resistant reusable, eco-friendly metal straw.

Stainless steel straws are a really great choice, overall. Other than the fact that they’re not size-adjustable, they’re basically perfect. Just make sure when you do purchase them that they’re food or medical grade and safe for home use. You may be wondering how to clean stainless steel straws. Simply hand wash or gently arrange in the dishwasher to disinfect!

- Rugged

- Long lasting

- Hand wash. Ok to sterilize in dishwasher.


Like the stainless steel option, glass is heat resistant, chip resistant, dishwasher safe, and definitely cool looking. These eco-friendly glass straws are also completely transparent so you can easily see if they’re totally clean when you press into reuse again and again. In addition, their resistance to erosion from acidity makes them a straw to beat when it comes to drinking highly acidic drinks, like soda.

Keep in mind that, while these reusable glass straws are heat resistant, we’ve heard that they may not be the best choice for your hot beverages.

- Peace-of-mind cleaning (by hand as well as ok to sterilize in the dishwasher)

- Durable!

- Makes an eco statement - elegantly with glass straws! People will likely notice and comment on your straw.


Made in nature! 100% organic, plus a super unique look too? When you use a bamboo straw, it adds to your sipping fun. And people will probably notice your stylish eco-friendly flare and ask you about your unusual bamboo straw.

Add in that these reusable bamboo straws are 100% biodegradable and this is the plastic straw alternative to beat. This option is perfect for the person who loves all things natural.

There are a few minor downsides, however. Like with the glass and steel options, bamboo is not adjustable in sizing once you’ve brought it home. And while they’re great additions to any beverage table set up, they’ve been known to carry a mild distinct taste of their own. They also require extra attention and care when washing, so make sure you have the proper tools needed to keep them clean at home.

- Fun & Natural

- Wash by hand only

- Might taste Earthy

- Varied diameters in every pack!

Reusable straws need to be washed with a brush by hand - even if they're dishwasher safe.


Remember when your straw was too long for your super cute mason jar mimosa glass, and it kept wanting to topple out? Problem solved. Reusable silicone straws are great because you can cut them down to size quite easily if need be.

You can bend them too, which always makes for great fun for kids of all ages. The littlest of our sippers will also appreciate their soft feel in the mouth. Not poky! While we always recommend hand washing with a little brush all of your reusable straws, but just in case you wanted to sterile them, it’s convenient that your reusable, eco-friendly silicone straws are also dishwasher safe.

- Soft on the mouth

- Bendy, which is cozy for kids

- Hand wash recommended, but ok to sterilize in dishwasher

Hay straws

Hay straws for sale? Why not? A straw made from straw. Clever, huh? Made from natural wheat stems that are a byproduct of wheat production, these uber-eco straws are super for sipping juices, cocktails and other thin liquids (not appropriate for smoothies for thick drinks).

Manufactured by Mother Nature, the inner diameter of the straws varies from a mere 3.5 mm to 5 mm. Once wheat is harvested, the stems are trimmed and made into hay for animal feed or, in our case, straws.

These straws can be tossed right in your green bin for commercial pick-up or composted at home. Hay straws will biodegrade in your backyard compost easily along with kitchen and yard scraps.

- 100% biodegradable

- Plastic-free packaging

- Gluten-free (The straws are made from the stem of a wheat plant and are not intended to be eaten, according to the vendor Hay Straws. Nevertheless, the company tests each batch of straws for gluten and results have always come back negative or with a less than 10ppm gluten reading. So the straws meet food standards for gluten-free labeling and the company is currently seeking official certification.)

- Inexpensive

Paper straws are a compostable and fun alternative!


No muss, no fuss! No washing required! The simplicity of the paper straw makes them an easy favorite as they’re biodegradable. They also may be an excellent choice for kids on the go! Tuck a few in your purse and at restaurants you can sip easy and eco - no problem!

The major drawback to paper straws is their obvious lack of durability over time. They are probably not the best choice if you’re planning on taking your time sipping on a tall glass of lemonade while having a deep and engaging conversation. These eco-friendly metal straws will get a bit mushy and won’t stand re-use.

- Biodegradable

- Convenient one-time eco use, especially if you’re traveling and can’t clean straws easily

- Great for large groups if you don’t have enough reusable drinking straws

Whichever option you choose, know that by doing so, you’re taking responsibility for your own carbon footprint. Whether it be stainless steel, glass, bamboo, wheat, silicone, or plastic, when you chose a plastic straw alternative, you’re making an environmentally-friendly decision to cut down on waste and save our planet.

Please share your tips and tricks for living free of plastic straws with our community on Facebook!

Reusable Straw Comparison Graphic Pros and Cons

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