Alternatives to plastic straws

We all know that plastic straws are not good for our land and aquatic ecosystems.

The war on plastic straws is growing and big food and beverage companies are being forced to give up plastic straws. Plastic is biodegradable too but takes a very very long time to do so as compared to other products made of natural raw materials. This leaves us with a question…. What should we use INSTEAD of plastic straws?

Luckily, we have the alternatives for plastic straws-Straw, Glass, Bamboo, Paper, Metal. The following table shows an analysis of the cost and their waste processability.

Straw Material Reusable Biodegradable Compostable Approx. Cost ($ per straw)*
PLA (Polylactic acid) Yes Yes $0.06
Hay Yes Yes  $0.08
Paper Yes $0.20
Glass Yes $1.20
Bamboo Yes Yes Yes $1.60
Metal Yes $2.30

*The pricing above is a very rough estimate solely used for the purpose of comparing the cost of straws.

It can be seen from the above table that PLA straws are the cheapest out of all of them and metal straws are the costliest. Bamboo and glass straws are medium priced.

PLA straws are made of polylactic acid (maily derived by fermenting corn starch. These straws are compostable but they need composting facilities with specific conditions (temperature and other settings) to facilitate the composting. They cannot be composted using natural composting techniques.

By Amogh Motaganahalli, 10 years


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