All around the planet, companies and also people everywhere are switching to paper straws as opposed to plastic, picking paper over plastic as an environment-friendly option.

Not long ago, Starbucks announced it would get rid of plastic straws in all places by 2020.

Seattle ended up being the largest U.S. city to prohibit plastic straws in July 2018.

McDonald’s has switched to paper straws in the U.K. but suffered a black eye when those paper straws could not be recycled.

In the United States, it’s been reported that Americans get rid of 500 millions of straws each day. A current study reported that 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown out each year in the U.K. The majority of these straws end up in the sea. Authorities estimate that as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the planet’s coastlines.

It’s clear that making use of plastic straws is a concern that needs to be resolved. And also with numerous companies selecting paper over plastic, it’s worth exploring whether paper straws are aiding or hurting the environment.

Before we get started, let’s understand the larger context of why we utilize plastic straws and what their mass usage has meant to individuals and businesses.

Plastic Straw History 101

In the late 1800s, a guy named Marvin Rock was drinking his favorite beverage when his drinking straw started to break down. So what did he do? He rolled a paper straw instead. Soon thereafter, he was creating even more paper straws than he was making cigarette holders.

Soon after The Second World War, American manufacturers began to mass produce plastic products for consumers.

By the 1960s, firms were creating plastic straws at increasingly high rates and prices.

In 2015, the companies around the planet were producing 300+ million tons of plastic a year.

Plastic Manufacturing Pollutes The Ocean

As plastic production increased, so did its effect on the environment. It had a big effect on the planet’s oceans; especially plastic straws.

Plastic straws were being manufactured as a single-use item. They were intended to be used, then thrown away after a single use. And since plastic straws are not recyclable. they end up adding a lot of waste that ends up in landfills and oceans around the world.

Today, there are these grand garbage patches in the ocean that are mostly made up of micro-plastics – plastic particles that break down over time. One such garbage patch is called the Great Pacific Trash Spot. It’s estimated to be twice the size of Texas.

Though a lot of plastic waste gathers in these “patches”, much also falls to the ocean floor where they begin to be consumed by ocean life.

Plastic Takes Centuries to Decay

Wondering how long it takes for a plastic straw to break down?

A plastic straw can take up to 200 years to breakdown. And when it does, it breaks down into smaller particles called “micro-plastics”. Marine creatures end up eating these particles as they mistake the particles for food.

Due to the harm of plastic on our oceans and our marine food supply, and the fact that many have begun to ban plastics

As a result of their negative impact, cities around the world have begun to outlaw plastic straws.

Is Plastic Restriction The Answer?

But banning plastic straws was just the start. Many cities and even nations around the world have begun to ban the use of single-use plastic bags. In some locations, merchants tax the customer for the user of a plastic bag. While other merchants require that the customer either purchase paper bags, or they must bring in their own bag to carry away their merchandise.

Though plastic straw waste has gotten a lot of press, it doesn’t generate nearly the amount of single-use plastic waste that plastic bags and other items generate. Nonetheless, eliminating single-use plastic straws is a good place to start in the battle against plastic waste.

Choose Paper over Plastic: 5 Reasons Why

So let’s say you you want to reduce single-use plastic waste, so you’re looking at straws as the place to start. Here are 5 reasons to choose paper straws over plastic straws.

Biodegradable Paper Straws

Paper straws are made out of paper and glue. As such, they are naturally biodegradable paper straws. That means over time, they will break down and disappear into the earth, or ocean.

You don’t have to worry about sorting your trash. Simply throw your paper straw into the landfill and it will decay over a few weeks time.

But what happens if your paper straw ends up in the ocean? No worries. It will break down in the ocean as well.

Paper Straws Are Affordable

Knowing that paper straws are made up of paper and food safe glue, it’s fair to say that paper straws are very affordable. At GreatPaperStraws.com, paper straws can be purchased factory direct for as little as a couple of pennies a straws.

But isn’t that more than the cost of plastic straws?

Yes, that’s true. But paper straws are much more costly to make. Sometimes it’s more “art” than “machine” in making a good paper straw that lasts.

Paper Straws Are Available In Bulk

Many factories only cater to the wholesale buyer or distributor that purchases dozens of cases of straws at a time. However, there are certain paper straw factories that make paper straws bulk available directly to consumers.

Paper Straws Made In The USA

A year ago, there was only one manufacturer of paper straws in the country. However, today there are a dozen or more manufacturers of paper straws made in the USA.

Many consumers, restaurants and hospitality companies have gravitated towards the cheaply made Chinese paper straws. Though the price was attractive, many found that those straws fell apart in their lips after a few sips.

All that stopped with Covid-19.

Many want to get away from China-made paper straws due to health and sanitation concerns as China-made straws do not have to comply with FDA Food Safety requirements.

Eco-Friendly Paper Straws Do Less Harm To Animals

Simply put, paper straws are safer for wild animals and marine life.

For example, the Astraws® brand paper straws have been independently lab tested and found to meet the stringent disintegration requirements ASTM D 6868-11. So you can be rest assured that they will disintegrate and disappear wherever they wind up. Never stress over polluting the earth again when you choose Astraws® eco-friendly paper drinking straws.

Other Alternatives to Paper Straws and Plastic Straws

There are various other options available worth exploring for those that desire to decrease their paper as well as plastic waste. Right here are several alternatives to paper and also plastic straws.

Straw Straws

Years ago, people actually used straws made from straw. Some consider them sorta gaudy but yes, you can actually make straws out of straw. So yes, straws made from straw are an alternative to plastic straws.

Straws From Bamboo

Bamboo straws are a great, lightweight alternative to single-use plastic straws. The bamboo is ideally sourced from sustainable forests. Once you’re done with the straw, throw it away with your garbage. It will decompose in a few months.

Glass Straws

Glass straws are certainly recyclable and long lasting. They are also dishwasher safe. They come in a variety of diameters and colors. Personally, I don’t like the idea of something solid in my mouth for fear of damaging my teeth. But the nice part about cleaning a glass straw is that you can see thru the glass to know whether the straw is clean or not.

Stainless Steel Straws

Much like glass straws, stainless steel straws are recyclable, long lasting and machine washable.  What I dislike about them is that you’re putting something in your mouth that can damage your teeth. And you can’t see thru the straw to know if the inside is really clean or not.

No Straw At All

Of course serving or using no straw at all is an alternative to single-use plastic straws. If you don’t use the plastic straw, it won’t create plastic waste, right?

Ways To Reduce Single-Use Plastic Waste

Here are several ways you can reduce single use plastic waste in your everyday world:

  • Take your own shopping bag to the supermarket instead of using their paper or plastic bags
  • Use re-usable water bottles instead of plastic bottles.
  • Select food options that use less plastic packaging
  • Pack your lunch or snacks in reusable plastic ware instead of disposable plastic bags

Are you looking for a great paper straw that won’t fall apart in your lips, or ruin your drink?

If so, go here to see our eco friendly bulk paper straw selection.