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Replace the plastic straw with a proper alternative

Plastic straws with

The beginning of “cocktail season” who would not enjoy a cold drink at the end of the hard working day under the sun. It is time to get near the pool and enjoy a couple of drinks with friends, go on a vacation, visit the beach, celebrate your blessings enjoy yourself! Most of those drinks are served with a straw, umbrella and so on, think a bit about the consequences of your actions, especially while drinking.

You know us, we are all about "green" solutions. We are well familiar with a lot of environmental problems, that are a result of our poor waste management. As professionals in rubbish removal, we at Tom's Junk Collectors, have to take a side on this matter also.

The Beginning of Plastic Straws

Straws are a major issue to the environment. As a tool, the straw was serving humanity more than 7000 years. People used to use a “drinking tube” to drink water and prevent swallowing of an insect or something else, contaminating the surface of the water. As a commercial product, the straw began its journey after a bright idea occurred to mister Marvin C. Stone. Born in 1842, the son of an inventor himself, Marvin had the idea for the modern drinking straw in 1888 and began manufacturing only three years later. His operations are still working as Stone Straw Ltd.

Today straws have an impact on the health of the environment. They are maybe the most used plastic single use product. Made out of polypropylene, which is petroleum based plastic that is actually leaking synthetic estrogen. Billions of straws are being thrown away each day. In America alone, it was estimated that the population is throwing away over 500 million straws each day! The combined length of those straws is 2.5 x the circle around the earth.

Plastic is recyclable, right? Why don’t we recycle straws, just like we recycle other plastics? Well sadly not all plastics are recyclable, therefore not all the straws are. On top of that even if we turn our plastic waste for recycling in a depot, the chance for the employees to just skip the straws is high. The straw is small, light, hard to spot and often left behind. Every single plastic straw that was ever made on earth is still on it! Can you imagine that? The production of plastic straws is wasting so many resources. The straw is a single use, oil based product, that could serve you well for about 15-20mins and then it will just sit there and pollute... For that straw we are wasting gas, electricity, we are polluting water and we are crowding landfills.

How to Replace The Plastic Straw

Recently there is more and more being said about products that could replace the plastic straw. Society is further acknowledging the problems with plastic pollution and the pollution of the oceans, therefore we are being more and more proactive in finding different solutions. Which is great! Today we have not one or two, but many replacements of the plastic straw and they have much more of a character. On top all that, the new generation of straws are reusable, washable, and overall GREAT!

Let’s check out some of the best products out there!

Alternatives of The Plastic Straw

The Bamboo Straw

A glass jar with bamboo straws in it

Maybe the oldest contender to be man’s best straw. The bamboo straw is 100 % biodegradable, it is eco friendly because it is out of nature itself. The bamboo straws are sold in packs, often with a little brush for us to give them a proper clean after drinking a smoothie. Those bamboo sticks are very durable and if we clean them well and keep them by our side we stand to use that pack of straws for ages! They also look lovely in a coconut cocktail! Those are distributed by bambuhome, and they make a large variety of wood material disposables, which is admirable. Well done guys!

Titanium Straw

Custom made titanium straws

Now, this is where things get serious. Titanium straws are world's most durable straw. You could probably use the very same straw for life if you keep it. Is this titanium safe for you and your drinks tho? Don’t worry, it is 100% safe. In fact, the same metal is used in the making of medical and dental implants, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. We have mentioned that bamboo straws look great with coconut cocktails, well these titanium straws can actually puncture a coconut! They can even go through a metal can, if you can’t hold your cravings for a cold drink. However you may find them a bit pricey, but remember that some are a real piece of art. This masterpiece in the picture is made by TiSurvival, you can see other stuff made from them if you like what you see.

Steel Straw

Stainless steel straw in a cocktail

amazon.co.uk

Those nonplastic straws are made out of good old stainless steel. They are a bit bent, durable, shiny, strong and better than a piece of plastic. Compared to the ones made out of titanium, you can guess that they are not that durable. Although they are a lot cheaper and they are a good enough solution. Are stainless steel straws safe? Well, yes they are. But what about washing them in the dishwasher? Unless you have a lot of straws on your hands, like really a lot, it is easy to give your stainless straws a quick wash. All you need is some dish soap and a pipe cleaner, that is usually included in straw packs. Dip the brush in soap run it through the straw, rinse and you are ready. You may feel a funky taste of metal, and that will be with a straw that is not with the best quality out there. Worth the risk if you ask me. The stainless steel straw is perfect for cold beverages!

Glass Straws

Glass straws in a green glass jar

Strawesome, indeed!

Now glass is being used for many pieces of art! No doubt about it I have feast my eyes on some brilliant arts that came out from under the hands of talented glass blow artists. Most of those treasures are way pricey… Well, you can’t put a price on beauty. Well, actually it turns out that you can, but no one wants to believe it! Glass straws could be made in any color and with any figure, you might want on them. The good thing about them is that they are customizable! They are not cheap, but they are not expensive either, and for the level of craftsmanship that you are getting is worth it all the way! After all, they are made out of glass, so you can’t pierce through a coconut or can with it… The glass straws are meant to be the queens of beach bar cocktails, the piece of jewelry in your favorite beverage, a note of your personality even. And it is stopping you from using plastics… you can’t go wrong with that.

Paper Straws

Green and gold paper straws

Paper Straws

Back in the 1900s, the paper straw was actually the only drinking straw that you could find. In 1950 the restaurants switched from washable,  reusable glasses and dishes to single use plastic packaging. They started to provide meals “on the go” and then the era of the plastic straw began. Now we know where we took a wrong turn and we need to step back now. The paper straw might not be durable like at all, it might not be that fancy, but it is the cheapest replacement of plastic straws. The perfect addition to your party and it won't stuck into the nasal of a sea turtle.

Edible Straws

Edible straws of all colours

Sure! We actually have a large variety of edible straws on the market. And actually, some of them are out there for quite some time. It makes no sense to continue using plastic straws. Those straws could be made from sugar, jelly, chocolate, even baked ones. Starbucks introduced their Frappuccino that was served with a cookie straw. For your milkshake, this is the ideal solution. It is way better for your straws to end up in your stomach than your plastic once being swallowed by a turtle. Actually, one of the first edible straws on the UK market was delivered by a company that usually produce disposable plastic products called Herald Plastic. More on that here.

Drug Detecting Straws

The idea behind that straw is to protect people of genders and ages from being drugged with what is knows as “date-rape-drugs”. Recently a study performed on the territory of university campuses points that one of every 6 people asked thinks or knows for a fact that they were “roofied”. The drug detecting straw is not a reusable straw! Sadly those are entirely based on an ordinary plastic product. It is a great idea and they already have funding, we hope that they consider using a base product like the one listed above, not plastic. The idea for the drug detecting straw is to be widely available and cheap, those requirements could probably be met with paper straws as well. Read more about the anti drug drinking straw.

Please! Use Reusable Straws

As some final words in the end of this publication we would like to address all of you out there, please, please limit your use of plastic products in general and especially straws, being that their recycling process is highly ineffective. Like most single use plastics, straws end up in the ocean, where they can hurt, even kill some animals, like the ocean turtle. It is a shame that an endangered species could be eliminated because of our minimalistic needs to sip through a plastic straw. Next time when you order a drink, be sure to have one of your reusable straws on you, or ask for a paper straw and enjoy, knowing that you just might help a turtle to live!

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