Home Coffee product The Best Reusable and Sustainable Straws, Ranked

The Best Reusable and Sustainable Straws, Ranked


Sustainable straws have become a hot and cold corner of the sustainability movement. In 2018, the consumption of disposable plastic straws in the United States was estimated to reach 142 billion straws per year. In the same year, Seattle became the largest US city to ban plastic straws, with a host of cities like New York and Miami following suit in recent years. Today, a new market has emerged for alternative, durable and reusable straws. With so many alternative straw options, we decided to sit down and try them all to see which ones were worth the hype and investment.

We judged a total of 11 straws in general categories – size, material, firmness, porosity and how they felt when we drank – with a particular focus on first impressions when we initially put them in our drinks, and revisiting them after leaving them in our drinks for two hours.

Here’s how they stacked up:

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#11: Cornstarch plastic, compostable and biodegradable

We had to put these “compostable and biodegradable plastic” straws made from cornstarch at the bottom of the list for several reasons: they looked like flimsy, inferior, fast food soda fountain straws with a texture odd. Their most redeeming quality was their durability, as they stayed intact for the full two hours like any other plastic straw. We couldn’t help but wonder how they were different from standard plastic straws and felt confused by the seemingly universal descriptor of ‘compostable and biodegradable plastic’.

In an FAQ page on plastic recycling and composting, the US Environmental Protection Agency states that “compostable plastic is biodegradable, but not all biodegradable plastic is compostable.” He goes on to explain that “compostable” plastics are actually not intended for home composting unless the product is specifically labeled as such. Additionally, compostable plastics cannot actually be disposed of in regular plastic recycling bins, as they “can contaminate and disrupt the recycling stream if mixed with petroleum-based plastics that are not compostable. “. The EPA encourages you to contact your local government or waste disposal/recycling company to inquire about where to drop off your compostable plastic.

Upon learning this information, we took a second look at the list of these straws and learned that they were not delegated to home composting. Suffice to say that we did not like these straws.

First impression: 2/5
Durability after two hours: 4/5

#10: Rice

We tried rice straws.

We were most excited to try rice straws, which we had never heard of before this experience. We were no doubt blindsided by incongruous storylines during this test and, in reality, we were faced with a sticky, rubbery mess. The material begins to break down the moment it hits a liquid, and from the first sip, you’re left with a sticky residue on your lips. On top of that, after about three sips, I bit my rice straw lightly to test the durability, but it cracked and completely fell apart in my mouth, leaving the top pointy and ragged. I spat out the sticky rice crumbs and let the straw sit in my drink for the allotted two hours to see how it would hold up. While the top half remained firm, the bottom half that was submerged completely bent, enlarged, and became slimy and rubbery. It was quite rude.

First impression: 1/5
Durability after two hours: -5/5

#9: Pasta

We tried the pasta straws.

These self-proclaimed pasta straws were little more than glorified bucatini (no, really – the product description says they’re 100% edible and non-GMO) that offered a rice-straw-like experience. Trying to bend or bite on these straws will result in a snap identical to raw pasta. After two hours in a glass, they found new life as strange, cold spaghetti.

First impression durability: .5/5
Durability after two hours: -5/5

#8: Reed

We tried reed straws.

We were curious to see if these reed straws would be a serious competitor to the popular bamboo straws. They were not. We could tell right away that they were lower quality and made with thinner material, as a good portion of the straws that came in the box arrived cracked. Although they do not become brittle over time, they will split with the slightest pressure, creating a significant safety hazard from accidentally consuming small pieces or cutting your mouth, lips or tongue.

First impression durability: 2/5
Durability after two hours: 3/5

#7: Paper

We tried paper straws.

We were convinced that paper straws would be at the bottom of this list, as they have been a topic of debate for many. These Glad disposable paper straws were a pleasant surprise at first and held firm for most of the first hour before finally meeting their mushy, nasty fate. This is perhaps a small testament to some improvements and modifications made to paper straws as they become more common.

First impression durability: 3/5
Durability after two hours: 2/5

#6: Glass

we tried glass straws.

Glass straws are a viable option as we move into the realm of dishwasher safe straws. Personally, I could never bring myself to buy them on my own, because I would always think about the possibility of the glass breaking in my mouth, or even breaking in my bag if I had to take them. Unsurprisingly, the product description for these glass straws didn’t provide much comfort, describing the craftsmanship of the glass as only “not easy to roll up”. Yet, at the end of the day, they’re still on the higher end of the durability scale, can handle hot and cold drinks, and obviously won’t get brittle inside your drink.

First impression durability: 3.5/5
Durability after two hours: 5/5

#5: Metal

We tried metal straws.

Metal straws rank in the top 5 compared to their glass counterparts, mainly because you won’t have any lingering suspicion that the straw is going to break in your mouth. It is definitely the longest lasting durable straw; however, this durability makes them much more difficult to clean given their non-malleable shape, a drawback that proved especially true with the curved metal straws we tried. Just beware of using them when consuming a hot liquid like tea or coffee, as the metal is a heat conductor that absorbs heat from your hot drink, making the straw itself hot to the touch.

First impression durability: 5/5
Durability after 2 hours: 5/5

#4: Bamboo

we tried bamboo straws

Public Goods’ reusable bamboo straws have held up much better than reed straws and are a commendable value at $4.95 for a 6-pack that comes with a cleaning brush. We were really worried after nearly getting shards from our latest wood-based straw, but found ourselves happy with a thick material and a sleek shape that won’t fade over time when submerged in our drinks.

First impression durability: 4/5
Durability after two hours: 5/5

#3: Silicon

We tried silicone straws.

Silicone Straws are our highest rated reusable straws because you get the best of both worlds: a malleable shape that can fit into any cup and bend for sipping, all while using a super durable material that won’t will have no problem dragging through the water. cup on your bedside table. They’re also a straw-eater’s dream – no cracking, no mush, and no unknown materials that could leach into our drinks. After trying most of these other straws, we loved that this straw didn’t pose an immediate question to our safety.

First impression durability: 4/5
Durability after two hours: 5/5

#2: Plant Fibers

We tried vegetable-based straws.

These plant fiber straws looked like normal plastic and would be a great alternative in bars and restaurants. The material was unaffected after two hours in our drinks and had no odd textures. For us, the only reason this didn’t make the #1 spot is that it’s not specified in the description exactly what vegetables are used to create this product, or how important these materials might be. in the finished straw product, which could be a concern for anyone with an allergy.

First impression durability: 5/5
Durability after two hours: 5/5

#1: Agave

We tried agave straws.

Our winner! We loved these agave fiber straws (maybe it has something to do with our affinity for tequila?). There were no issues with the material, feel, or durability. The product description even detailed what part of the agave plant was used (the leftover stems from the tequila process) and explained the production process. They are approved for home compost and also come in individual recyclable rice paper wrappers, making them the perfect candidate for bars and restaurants.

First impression durability: 5/5
Durability after two hours: 5/5