By now, everyone knows that plastic waste is a major environmental problem around the world. Most plastic isn’t biodegradable, and it’s subsequently been clogging landfills and polluting the oceans, killing off a slew of marine creatures in the process. To top it off, there’s the issue of the chemical pollution that’s produced during the manufacturing of plastic.
Now, several organizations are campaigning in hopes of persuading people to stop using plastic straws. The Last Plastic Straw says that in the U.S. alone, 50 million single-use plastic straws are used and discarded every day. That’s a jaw-dropping 175 billion straws each year. The organization has developed three options for restaurants to help them play their part in slashing these numbers: they can either provide a straw only when requested by a customer, provide only compostable or reusable straws, or get rid of straws altogether.

So how can we, the consumers, make our own positive impact? Well, we can start by using any of these five cool, eco-friendly straw alternatives!


Food with Fashion designs paper straws that are colorful and biodegradable. These straws come in a variety of styles and patterns, from “Rainbow Chevron” to “Multicolor Stripes” and “Green Daisies.” Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and Easter straws go great with table decorations, and there are even straws to complement wedding and baby shower decor. How do Food with Fashion’s straws hold up in drinks? “They are durable, biodegradable, and food-safe,” says the company. “The thick coating allows them to last for hours in water and other liquid beverages!”


Eco-friendly bamboo drinking straws are washable, reusable, and all-natural. AXC Supply says its straws are “made from real whole bamboo stalks — nothing recompressed or processed…The straws can last for years and years when properly cared for.” We think they’re perfect for outdoor parties, barbecues, and any other event where you might want to feature a piece of real nature.


Hummingbird says it makes Pyrex glass straws to “do our part to reduce the number of plastic straws clogging up our oceans and landfills. We do this by offering our sustainable, nontoxic glass straws at a fair price so everyone can make the switch (eliminating about 600 plastic straws per person, per year) and by donating to causes that promote the recycling of plastics.”

Polylactic Acid

Okay, we know this doesn’t sound like something you’d want to use to sip your cocktails, but have no fear! Polylactic acid (PLA) or “corn plastic” is made from renewable resources rather than oil, which is the base for most traditional plastics. Eco-Products manufactures these straws and promises that “they are sturdy and certified compostable in commercial compost facilities.”

Stainless Steel

Mulled Mind is a small Massachusetts-based business that forges long-lasting reusable straws. The straws are made from 304 stainless steel, which the company explains “is commonly referred to as 18/10 or 18/8” in the homewares industry. “It is a material used in many applications including cutlery and medical devices, and it is safe for it to come into contact with your food and body.”