If you’ve been around for a while, you know how we feel about single-use plastic (just say no).
Plastic straws are on the top 10 list of items most found on beaches and in waterways. During a five-year documented beach clean-up, almost 7.5 million plastic straws were collected from U.S. shorelines.
So, what’s an eco-friendly person to do? Maybe you’ve tried to go straw-free, but struggled to enjoy your smoothie or drink on the rocks because ice keeps hitting you in the face.
Fortunately, bamboo straws are an excellent eco-friendly solution to plastic drinking straws.
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Why You Should Switch to a Bamboo Straw
Bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet and is an excellent choice for swapping out many less eco-friendly products.
Bamboo is Natural and Renewable
Bamboo grows incredibly fast – up to 7 times faster than trees! Each plant can be harvested every few years for up to 30 years without excess water or pesticides. In the wild, bamboo leaves also break down creating natural fertilizer for the plant to regrow.
Bamboo is Long-Lasting and Durable
Bamboo is stronger than steel and a bamboo straw can last many years if properly cared for. So you’ll be using just a handful of bamboo straws compared to the over 38,000 plastic straws the average person uses in their lifetime.
Bamboo is a Biodegradable
When you’re done with your bamboo straw you can simply compost it! Break it into smaller pieces if needed and add them to your compost bin. Using a natural material like bamboo will help protect wildlife from accidentally eating more plastic.
Bamboo Straws vs Other Reusable Options
Bamboo straws aren’t the only option on the market. So how do they compare to other straws?
Bamboo Straws Compared to Steel
Steel straws are a popular reusable choice because they’re very durable and easy to clean. They’re also 100% recyclable. However, the production of steel straws creates greenhouse gas emissions that harm the environment.
I prefer a bamboo straw over steel because I don’t have to worry about my straw becoming too hot or cold based on my beverage. And have you ever accidentally jammed a steel straw against your teeth? Ouch.
Bamboo Straws Compared to Silicone
Many people choose silicone straws because they’re flexible and durable making them comfortable to drink from and easy to travel with. Silicone straws are less harmful to the environment than plastic because they’re recyclable (at specialized recycling centers). They also won’t break down into microplastics which is an ever-growing problem.
Unfortunately, most silicone straws won’t make it to a recycling center and silicone uses natural gas and oil in production. Bamboo straws will break down when you’re finished with them and can be harvested ethically on small rural farms.
Bamboo Straws Compared to Paper
Paper straws seem like a good option for parties and everyday use. People love them because of the fun colors and patterns. They’re also inexpensive and biodegradable. However, paper straws are single-use and still end up in landfills leading to more paper waste.
As for durability, paper straws may start to peel or dissolve in liquids, unlike bamboo. They can also be flimsy when wet and bend or break making them difficult to use. Bamboo straws stand up to hot or cold temperatures and maintain their durability over time.
Bamboo Straws Compared to Compostable Straws
When you hear the word compostable you may think “Great! Problem solved!”. Not so fast, friend. Even compostable straws made from “natural” materials need the right conditions to break down and that process can take up to 20 years.
Bamboo straws are all-natural and with the right amount of moisture and heat can break down in as little as eight weeks.
Bamboo Straws Compared to Glass
Glass straws became a popular option because they’re pretty and they make it easy to see if they’re clean (no peering through the end like a cartoon villain). But if you’ve ever handled a slippery glass dish, you’ll know your straw may end up in pieces on the floor before you have a chance to use it.
Though glass straws are reusable, they still harm the environment with the CO2 emissions created during production. Bamboo straws can be made right from the bamboo stalk and don’t require intense processing like glass.
What to Consider When Buying Bamboo Straws
When shopping for a bamboo straw, you’ll want to think about what you’ll be using the straw for and who will be using it. Are you looking to buy bamboo straws in bulk to use or resell at your business? Or do you just need a few for personal use? There are options to order hundreds of bamboo straws at a time or just enough for your family.
If you’re buying for yourself or your family, consider what types of drinks you enjoy so you can choose the right size. Bamboo straws come in varying lengths and widths so you can use them for thick smoothies or just a refreshing glass of water.
Best Bamboo Straws
The reusable bamboo straws from Seek Bamboo are my top pick. They’re perfect for everyday use so you can finally ditch single-use plastic straws for good. Their straws have a modern sleek design made from premium bamboo shoots so you’ll be proud to share them with all your guests.
Seek Bamboo uses 100% natural bamboo and sustainable sourcing practices so you can feel good about your eco-friendly choice.
Best for Kids
If you have little ones at home, you’ll want to grab a couple of packs of these reusable bamboo straw sets from My Little Panda. These straws are made from 100% natural organic bamboo helping you pass down your eco-friendly lifestyle.
Each pack comes with four reusable straws, a compostable hemp bag for storage, and a cleaning brush made from sisal plant. You’ll receive four different sizes making this a perfect set for little or big hands to enjoy hot or cold drinks at home or on the go.
Best for Travel
Speaking of on-the-go, be sure to pack your bamboo straws on your next trip. I love the Bambaw reusable bamboo straws for travel because you’ll receive multiple straws of each size so you can share them with your group.
Keep them in the reusable storage bag until you get a chance to wash them out with the accompanying cleaning brush. You’ll have everything you need to keep your trip easy and eco-friendly.
Best Variety Pack
For a variety of sizes, you can’t beat this 12-pack of bamboo Jungle Straws from Jungle Culture. They’re known for providing varying widths so you can enjoy everything from a smoothie to bubble tea.
Jungle Culture works with a family farm in Vietnam that grows all of its bamboo sustainably with just sun and water.
Best for Bulk Orders
For businesses buying in bulk, I recommend the wholesale bamboo straws from The Other Straw. If you’re a restaurant owner who needs straws for serving drinks or run a grocery store that needs straws for resale, these 100% natural, ethically and sustainably sourced straws are perfect for you
These are ideal for eco-friendly businesses because you can customize your order with your logo to showcase your commitment to the environment. The Other Straw also has partnership opportunities for bulk order customers like hotels, restaurants, and cafes.
Best for Events
Ordering in bulk for a personal event? You’ll love the organic bamboo straws bundle from My Little Panda. Order in quantities of 20-160 and personalize your straws with engraved names, dates, or a special message.
Perfect for wedding favors and corporate events, these bamboo straws will help you share your values with all your guests. They’ll also leave a little less waste from your all-night party. This is a favor they’ll want to use as it’s lightweight, easy to clean, and doesn’t harm the environment.
Care and Maintenance of Bamboo Straws
When you first receive your bamboo straw, boil it in salt and vinegar for a few minutes to remove any woody taste.
Though many bamboo straws are considered dishwasher safe, I prefer to wash mine by hand with the straw brush and let them dry naturally. If you do toss yours into the dishwasher be sure to turn off the heated dry setting as this may cause your bamboo straw to dry out and become less durable.
When clean, store your bamboo straw in a ventilated container to prevent mold and deterioration.
Of course, we recommend you always follow manufacturer recommendations for proper care.
How to Make Bamboo Straws
Making bamboo straws is easier than you think. You’ll just need a few common tools and some bamboo rods to get started.
Switch to Bamboo for a Cleaner Planet
Switching to bamboo straws allows you to be kind to the environment AND enjoy sipping your mojitos. The look and feel may even bring you those exotic island vibes.
What will you be sipping with your bamboo straw this weekend?