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It’s time to be more eco-friendly and introduce plastic straws alternatives, especially if you’re a restaurant owner. There are some great plastic straw alternatives that we’ve organized, described and found suppliers for.

Restaurants Move to Eliminate Plastic Straws

The US uses a staggering number of “500 million straws per day” according to the National Park Service. Recently, restaurants have been acknowledging the severity of this issue and have stepped up to the plate in an effort to minimize plastic waste. Luckily, there are numerous sustainable alternatives to the dated and harmful plastic straw.

One simple step to cutting down on single-use straw consumption is telling servers not to bring a handful of plastic straws to every table.   Bartenders also don’t need to put plastic stirrers in every drink. Of course, it is important to provide straws to consumers who ask for them or need them. Restaurants need to have some type of straw for people with disabilities that require them in order to drink. In the NPR article People With Disabilities Want Bans On Plastic Straws To Be More Flexible, people say they’re losing access to a necessary, and sometimes life-saving straws. So eliminating straws altogether is not the right solution.  Below are ten innovative eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws.

Plastic Straw Alternatives for Eco-Friendly Businesses

Below are some fun eco-friendly straws to consider. Each link will take you to a supplier or online store if you’re interested in more information or purchasing the product.

1. Bamboo Straws

Bamboo Straws are 100% chemical-free.  Bamboo is biodegradable, naturally antibacterial, and one of the most sustainable resources on earth.

2. Paper Straws

Paper Straws are getting creative and offer a number of different colors and sizes of straws.

3. Plant Straws

Plant Straws are crafted from a plant-based plastic called PLA. They are biodegradable and I personally couldn’t tell the difference from this and the original plastic straw.

4. Hay Straws

Hay Straws are made from stems of wheat plants, they’re biodegradable and also inexpensive!  The Organic Straw Company carries not only hay straws but also PLA straws that are made from corn and easy to buy in bulk.

5. Steel Straws

Steel Straws are durable, reusable and some even come with a case for people to carry around with them. This site offers stainless steel straws as well as a cleaning tool for them.

6. Glass Straws

Glass Straws from Toma are sturdy, washable and reusable.

7. Silicone Straws

Silicone Straws are kids friendly, bendable and reusable. They also come in a variety of different colors.

8. Edible Straws

Edible Straws from Loliware are edible. “They are 100% plant-based, hyper-compostable and marine-degradable, in addition to being gluten-free, sugar-free, and non-GMO.”

9. Naturally Grown Straws

Naturally Grown Straws can be purchased at Straws Straws, which is quickly gaining popularity. “They are naturally beautiful, biodegradable, sterilized, without taste, FDA approved, hand-harvested & hand-cut, and strong enough to stir and drink.”

10. Straw Upon Request

Straw Upon Request, a large issue with any single-use plastic is that restaurants tend to throw them in every drink without even asking. By providing consumers their beverages without a straw, and having them on board per request, you can make a large difference. You can make an even greater change by having any of the nine eco-friendly alternative straws on deck!

Starbucks has jumped on the green bandwagon with a new approach designed by an engineer, Emily Alexander who works in Starbucks global and research development Starbucks Global Research Development. Now offering cold beverages with lids similar to hot drink lids, this has been referred to as the ‘adult sippy cup’ and doesn’t require a straw.

Starbucks still offers plastic straws for certain drinks and upon customers’ requests, which is especially important to have for people with disabilities. As discussed in the introduction, straws greatly help people with certain complications so it is important for restaurants to provide an option for a straw. With all the new innovative types of eco-friendly straws on the market, business owners are in luck.

Time To Be Eco-Friendly with Plastic Straw Alternatives

Now that you know alternatives to single-use plastic straws and the damage they cause, it is my hope that you think twice before placing your next bulk order for plastic straws. Check out any of the eco-friendly alternatives to straws listed above and become a greener business. It will save our marine life and you’ll rest knowing that you’re doing your part in making the world a better place to live.

For more eco-friendly tips for restaurants, check out our Sustainability Guide for Restaurants: Getting Started.

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