The Best Eco-Friendly Straws You'll Actually Use
Minimize your plastic straw usage by adding one of these stylish eco-friendly straws — from reusable stainless steel to biodegradable wheat — to your online shopping cart.
As companies around the world commit to ditching single-use plastic straws, it's the perfect time to adopt a more sustainable alternative in your own kitchen.
The best plastic-alternative straw is one you'll actually use, which will largely depend on personal preference, but these are the primary factors to consider when choosing an eco-friendly straw and what we evaluated in selecting our recommendations:
- Cleaning maintenance: How easy is it to clean the straw? Many reusable straws are dishwasher safe, but the dishwasher won't get the job done if smoothie residue is stuck in the interior — most straws require a dedicated cleaning brush.
- Transportability: How easy is it to transport the straw without it getting dirty? If you're looking for a reusable straw to carry in a purse or have on hand for to-go coffee, consider if it collapses to a smaller size, what kind of case it comes in (or if you'll need to buy separately) and how easy it will be to clean on the go.
- Mouthfeel: How does the straw feel in your mouth? Some people complain stainless steel has a metallic taste. Glass may be too hard for some, especially kids. Generally, a straw with a silicone top is the most pleasant to drink from and is also the safest material for kids.
- Conductivity: Does the straw transmit temperature? Stainless steel is one of the most common materials for reusable straws, but it's more conductive, meaning it's not ideal for really hot or cold liquids. Whether it's hot coffee or an ice-cold smoothie, consider what types of beverages you plan to drink with the straw before purchasing.
- Size: Will the straw fit your drink? Reusable straws come in a range of heights, some with curved mouthpieces, and the height of the drinkware or to-go cup you plan to drink from should help determine what size straw you select. Also, straws with wider openings are best for boba tea and smoothies.
After scouring the reviews and considering the different options, we tried more than 20 different kinds of stainless steel, glass, silicone, collapsible, bamboo, wheat and paper straws, and these are the best reusable straws and disposable straws we recommend for every kind of lifestyle.
This reusable straw from Klean Kanteen offers the best of both worlds. It features a stainless steel base, which means it stands up in glasses and pokes through to-go lids easily, but it has a removable silicone tip that makes the mouthfeel more pleasant for drinking, no matter the temperature of the liquid.
The most annoying thing about making the switch to reusable straws — or reusable anything — is the cleaning maintenance. Even if a straw says it's safe for the dishwasher, you typically need to clean it with a brush anyway due to the shape. But not with Hip's CleanStraw thanks to its clever design. It actually "unzips" to open completely, meaning you can simply run the straw under soapy water or put it in the dishwasher unzipped. And if you're wondering if the straw stays "zipped" while drinking, it does! We didn't experience any leakage when drinking with this straw, and it felt like drinking from any other silicone straw. The one downside to this straw, and most silicone straws, is that silicone collects dust and crumbs fairly easily. If you plan to transport this straw, you'll want to get a carrying case before tossing it in your purse or bag, but washing this straw on the go couldn't be easier since there's no need for a cleaning brush.
This collapsible straw is stainless steel and expands like a telescope to be a regular size straw. A cleaning brush, stored inside the straw, also extends the same way, and both fit neatly inside the lipstick-sized carrying case, available in several sleek metallic finishes.
While $20 for one straw may seem like a lot, the best-selling option from FinalStraw might be the only straw you'll need. The straw features a silicone interior with a stainless steel exterior that pulls apart to fold down and fit into this tiny keychain carrying case. Like the Kleen Kanteen straw, we like that you get the sturdiness of a stainless steel straw, meaning it's great for poking through lids, but you also get the soft mouthpiece from the silicone tip.
For times when a disposable option is preferred like for serving cocktails, these biodegradable, gluten-free straws made from wheat stems are a great option. These straws are thinner and more fragile than most straws, but we found them pleasant to drink from; they felt similar to the thin plastic cocktail straws common at bars. They're available in a 7.75-inch and 5-inch heights. When finished drinking from them, simply toss them in your compost bin.
For weddings, parties or even restaurants where disposable straws are preferred, these sturdy paper straws from the brand Aardvark are a great choice. The paper holds up over the course of a night and doesn't come apart in your mouth like other paper straws often do. This straw is compostable and features a flexible top that allows the straw to bend slightly for a better drinking angle. While this brand primarily sells straws in large quantities, you shop a variety of prints and colors on their website.
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