Make it a goal: Next time you order a coke or juice-infused tea, proudly skip the plastic-wrapped plastic straws and use your own reusable straw. Whether it’s a stainless steel, glass or bamboo straw, these options force us to regain control over our mindless slurping habit.
Soon, in Taiwan (Pinkoi’s home),—in as early as 2019—plastic straws will be banned. Starting from large chains and restaurants where plastic straws will cost you additional charges, the ban will spread to other types of shops like the bubble tea places we love.
Old habits die hard and creating new ones is a pain. But it does help that reusable straws are so pretty to look at. They deserve to be treated like all your other home utensils.
Here, we introduce you to the pros and cons of the most common reusable straw materials: stainless steel, glass, bamboo, and titanium. You’ll also find insights on how this is all tied together to your lifestyle.
1. Stainless Steel Straws
First, why straws at all? Undoubtedly, using them is more hygienic in restaurants, and they also protect your teeth from swimming in coffee and juice which erodes your enamel.
However, cheap plastic straws may leak heavy metal and plasticizer, making them bad for our health and for the environment. That’s why we’re getting rid of them.
As for metal straws—stainless steel straws—we see them everywhere, and some are cheaper than others. Why is that? Medical grade, food grade, which one is enough? How do I know what I’m getting?
Stainless steel is the most basic durable material that resists oxidation and corrosion. Made of food grade material, a 304 stainless steel straw is a safe and affordable option to drink out of. However, it’s not as resistant to heat and scratches along with the sulfuric and fatty acids from food and drinks when compared to the safer, pricier 316L medical grade stainless steel straw.
You might well be eating and drinking at the same time, so there’s lots of opportunities for chemical reactions.
? Choose stainless steel straws if you’re just getting started.
? Not all metal straws are alike! Confirm they are food grade or medical grade stainless steel straws.
2. Glass Straws
At first we were surprised to see fragile glass become one of the most popular options for reusable straws. But digging deeper into the components of food, it starts to makes sense. We consume a lot of acidic drinks, and the resistance of the glass to erosion from acidity is a strength that stainless steel ultimately can’t really compare with. Stainless steel is still prone to heavy metal problems.
Besides, glass straws are made with chip and shatter-resistant materials or even heat-resistant borosilicate material, so stir your drink with ease.
Also, since glass straws are transparent, unlike metal straws, you can also be assured that the inside is squeaky clean!
? Choose glass straws if you mostly drink highly acidic drinks like soda, lemonade, fruit vinegar, black coffee, etc.
? Choose glass straws if you might not be washing them right after use.
? Also, if you have kids, make sure they are old enough to handle glass straws with care.
3. Titanium Straws
Titanium is the most expensive material but also poreless. It’s the safest material for the long term (think particles and erosions) and it also won’t release that metallic taste.
The colors in the straws are from the titanium itself instead of color dyes and lightweight titanium also means your cup won’t tilt when you finish drinking.
? Choose titanium straws for your young children to protect them from toxins.
? Choose titanium straws if you drink beverages often, if you chew, if you hate that metallic taste, or if you don’t want to always have to be gentle with your straw.
4. Bamboo Straws
If you are serious about choosing all-natural, low-footprint products, consider bamboo straws, which come from more sustainable production processes and have a better after-life. However, you’ll need to clean and dry your straw properly in order to avoid mold and bacteria and to ensure health and safety.
? Choose bamboo straws if you don’t drink much, and if cleaning is your thing.
5.More tips for choosing reusable straws
Think about how you drink:
✔ Check if the edges at the openings are smoothly rounded off. They shouldn’t hurt your lips. This is a basic assurance of quality for reusable straws.
✔ If you drink bubble tea a lot and need the wide 12mm straw, consider a slanted straw so you can poke holes through the plastic cover more easily. Or, just peel off the cover every time you drink.
✔ With regards to plastic cups, consider bringing your own cup or jar that fits with the straw in a way that it won’t leak. Many of us already own tumblers, but they don’t always fit the straws, so consider your preferences!
Think about your lifestyle:
✔ Bringing the straws with you. Do you get drinks all the time, every day? You’ll have to commit to carrying your reusable straw just as often to really opt out of the convenient plastic straws.
✔ Carrying straws after you finish drinking. Will you use the straw at home where a dirty one can lie around? Or on weekends where you’ll finish a drink and keep shopping? You might need a carrier for both clean and dirty straws.
✔ Other utensils. Do you also carry your own chopsticks, fork and spoon? You might want to find a set that holds everything including the reusable straw.
Think about the hygiene:
✔ Be sure you get a cleaning brush that’s suited to the materials of your straw. Most cleaning brushes fit both wide (12mm for tapioca) and narrow straws (8 mm).
✔ Simply rinsing sounds good enough, but soon you might wonder if stains have been washed off and if particles are clinging to the insides. Therefore, don’t overlook the cleaning brush that usually comes with a set of reusable straws or for purchase if you’re only getting one straw..
Now, you know everything you need to know about reusable straws and it should be easy to choose one. As you can see, it’s not all about metal straws. Stay healthy and green, and happy sipping!
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