The city of Seattle’s ban on plastic straws officially went into effect on Sunday, July 1st. The ban applies to plastic straws used in the food service industry, which means bars and restaurants are prohibited from using these items when serving customers. What will businesses use when serving drinks if they can no longer use plastic straws? Here’s a look at some of the many eco-friendly alternatives:
Paper straws are single-use straws that can be used as an alternative to plastic straws. In fact, paper used to be the go-to material for straws until plastic became popular in the mid-1900s. Most of the paper straws that are on the market today are made out of incredibly durable and biodegradable material, which makes them far more eco-friendly than plastic straws. Biodegradable paper straws completely break down within 90 days and do not harm the environment in the process.
This alternative is not only eco-friendly, it’s also visually appealing. Paper straws come in countless different colors and designs, which makes them more fun and exciting to use.
Metal is probably the last material that comes to mind when you think of straws, but it’s actually a great alternative to plastic. Most metal straws are made out of aluminum, titanium, or stainless steel, which are all durable materials that long lifespans. Metal straws are not single-use straws, so they can be washed and reused by bars and restaurants. However, it’s important to look for metal straws that are designed with a little bit of flexibility so they are easier to clean.
If this is your first time trying a metal straw, use it to drink a cold beverage. The metal will start to cool down when it is placed inside a cold drink, and many people enjoy the experience of taking a sip from a chilled straw.
Glass is another popular–not to mention eco-friendly–alternative to plastic. Glass is a reusable material that can is dishwasher safe, so it is easy to clean. The only downside to this alternative is the fragility of glass. Because glass breaks so easily, these straws must be handled with care. But fortunately, glass is recyclable so these straws can be recycled if they happen to break.
Of course, there is always the option of forgoing the straw altogether. There’s really no need to use a straw, so try going without one the next time you reach for a drink. If you use straws regularly, it may seem strange to take a sip without one, but you will get used to the change over time.
Seattle is the first city in the U.S. to ban plastic straws in the food service industry, but many believe that it will not be the last. As you can see, there are many alternatives that serve the same purpose as plastic straws without damaging the environment. Because there are so many other options, this list will hopefully show lawmakers in other cities that banning plastic straws will not inconvenience customers or businesses.