Which Reusable Straws Are Better: Silicone, Glass, or Metal?

In the United States alone, 500 million plastic straws are used each day. This is enough plastic to fill 127 school buses each day! Things are getting out of her hand, and we need to turn to alternatives fast. Fortunately, straws have evolved over the years. Gone are the days that plastic ones were the only choice you had.

Now we have so many options, each with its pros and cons. Reusable straws have particularly gained popularity, especially since they can be made from different types of materials.

Why you should switch to reusable straws

If you have been struggling with the decision to switch from plastic to reusable straws, let us make things easier for you.

Here are the major reasons to make the switch now:

  • It keeps plastic out of the environment and oceans.
  • It protects you from the health hazard of BPA leaching into your drinks.
  • It reduces the amount of plastic going to landfills.
  • Since you can use them for a lifetime, reusable straws save you money in the long run.
  • Reusable straws are easy to clean and are dishwasher-safe.
  • Reusable straws are more affordable in the long run.

What are the main types of reusable straws?

Undoubtedly, the most popular reusable straws are silicone, glass, and metal ones. And if you’re wondering which type is best, you’ve come to the right place. That is exactly what we’ll be discussing today. But first, let us tell you a little about each type of reusable straw.

Silicone straws

The first thing you notice about silicone straws is that they are soft and flexible. This makes them great for kids; they won’t hurt them no matter what mischief they get to. Moreover, you can cut them down to any size you want, allowing you to make tiny versions for your little humans. It also helps that they come in a variety of cute colors and designs.

And if you’re worried about cleaning them, we have some good news, you can either toss them in the dishwasher or wash them with one of those tiny brushes that come with them.

They are also great for constant travelers; there is no risk of breakage.

However, silicone straws are not all just bubbles and roses. They have some disadvantages as well.

For instance, you can’t see through them, and their flexibility makes them awkward to wash. More importantly, since they are not temperature sensitive, you will only find out your drink too hot after it’s reached your tongue.

  • Bendy and soft; no risk of getting hurt
  • Easy to clean
  • Available in a variety of colors and designs
  • Are durable; can last you a long time
  • No risk of breakage
  • Easy to customize
  • Can be recycled
  • Don’t leach even when used with hot or cold beverages
  • Don’t leave any foreign taste in your drinks
  • Awkward to wash
  • Not temperature sensitive
  • Don’t let you see through
  • Their rubbery material can make them attract food particles

Metal straws

If there is one thing metal straws are known for, it is their sleek and elegant look. Also, they can last forever and are unbreakable. Moreover, since they are made from a food-grade metallic material, they don’t contain any toxic chemicals. Like silicone straws, they come with pipe brushes that make them easy to clean. And if worse comes to worst, you can just toss them in the dishwasher and call it a day!

There are major downsides to these straws though. For one, they can burn when you’re drinking hot drinks or freeze when you’re drinking cold ones. Also, you can neither see through them nor adjust their size. More importantly, they can easily poke you in the mouth and hurt you, a particularly serious concern if you have kids.

  • Can be recycled
  • Are long-lasting
  • Don’t leach any toxic chemicals
  • Easy to clean
  • Look sleek, elegant, and stylish
  • Are affordable
  • Can burn you when drinking hot beverages
  • Can poke and hurt you
  • Aren’t size adjustable
  • Don’t let you see through
  • Occasionally gives your drink a metallic taste

Glass straws

Made of borosilicate glass or soda-lime, these straws can withstand harsh chemicals and high temperatures. Although borosilicate glass can’t be recycled, soda-lime can. However, it must be noted that your curbside recycling program won’t accept even soda lime. You will have to check with your local authorities if there is a nearby facility that will take it.

Alternatively, you could reach out to the straw manufacturer and ask if they have a recycling program. Some manufacturers like StrawHopper have programs that take both soda-lime and borosilicate glass straws, crush them, and add them to a concrete mix. Ideally, these are the best manufacturers to buy your straws from.

Recycling issues aside though, glass straws do have some major advantages. For one, they are both durable and smooth. Additionally, you can see through them, allowing you to know for sure whether they are clean or not. Be cautious though; they can break and are therefore not safe for children and traveling.

  • Allow you to see through them
  • Have a smooth feeling to them
  • Can be used for both hot and cold beverages
  • Can withstand harsh chemicals
  • Are durable
  • Are aesthetically pleasing
  • Are available in a variety of dyes
  • Easy to clean
  • Are hypoallergenic
  • Don’t leave any foreign taste in your drinks
  • Are breakable
  • Can be a hassle to recycle
  • Unsafe for children
  • Unsafe for traveling
  • Form chips and grooves over time

Which reusable straws are best?

All things considered, silicone straws are the best reusable straws right now, especially when you have a family. They are safer, easier to recycle, and can be size-adjusted. They are also safe for traveling – a good feature to have if you are a globetrotter. As long as you don’t mind not being able to see through the straw, you’ll be fine.

What other options do you have?

Even if you don’t like silicone, glass, and metal reusable straws, you still don’t have to go back to plastic ones. You can look into options like:

Bamboo straws

These straws are reusable, 100% natural, non-toxic, and biodegradable. Moreover, they are so soft that you don’t have to worry about them hurting you or your child’s gums. However, they do require some extra care and can be tricky to clean. Also, they have an earthy taste that many find unpleasant. You also can’t adjust their size once you get them.

Compostable straws

If you love composting, these are the straws for you. There are two main types of compostable straws; paper ones and bio-based plastic ones. While the former is made of normal paper, the latter is made of specially manufactured biodegradable plastic. Although they work just fine, bio-based plastic straws can only be composted at specific commercial facilities. To ensure that you are getting an authentic bio-based plastic straw, always check for a label containing the ASTM D-6400 or STMD 6468 composting standards.

For the paper ones, things are a lot simpler; just add them into your compost and you’re good to go. However, they do have one major pitfall; they can’t be used for a long time. They get mushy quickly. They’re a good single-use option for quick parties though.

Hay or wheat straws

These eco-friendly straws are made from the stems of natural wheat. Their diameters range from 3.5mm to 5mm. If these stems were not made into straws, they would be converted into hay immediately after the wheat was harvested. As such, they are 100% biodegradable and can even be added to your compost pile.

Moreover, they are gluten-free and usually come in plastic-free packaging. They do have one downside though; they are not good for thick liquids like smoothies. Instead, they are perfect for thin juices and cocktails.

Pasta straws

Pasta straws are made from wheat and water. They can be cut into any size you want and don’t lose their shape even when used for over an hour. Also, they are biodegradable and don’t impart any foreign taste to your drink. However, they can only be used for cold beverages.

Titanium straws

If durability is your main concern, then you should go for titanium straws. They last forever. What’s more? They are super light, sturdy, dishwasher safe, and corrosion-resistant. And to top it all off, unlike metal straws, they don’t become hot or cold quickly.

The bottom line

The truth is, reusability has taken the sustainability world by storm. I mean, a decade ago you may not have even bothered to look up reusable straws, yet here you are today. Things truly have gotten better. So no matter which type of plastic straw alternative you go for, rest assured that you have made a difference.

You have taken responsibility for your carbon footprint and are striving to reduce it. Not many would do the same, so we applaud you. Ultimately, we see no greater way to save the environment and save your money at the same time. This is truly a win-win situation!

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