To straw or not to straw? And the best reusable straw options


With hundreds of cafes, restaurants and bars signing up to The Last Straw pledge to be straw responsible and some major retailers committed to ending the sale of plastic straws, bringing your own straw is fast becoming the norm.

(For a crash course in why straws are bad for the planet, check out this video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nose. Nine-year-old student Molly Steer, also sums up the problem nicely in her TED talk “Straw No More”.)<iframe width="1143" height="643" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Would you believe that Aussies consume a whopping 10 million plastic straws per day? As straws cannot be recycled, they end up in landfill or waterways where they add to the plastic problem in our oceans and harm marine life. (For a crash course in why straws are bad for the planet, check out this video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nose. Nine-year-old student Molly Steer, also sums up the problem nicely in her TED talk "Straw No More".)

Using straws is one of those habits that is easy to break and by making our choices known, we are also encouraging venues that serve straws to consider their practices. Simply say "no straw please" when you order a drink at a bar, or a take-away juice or smoothie. If you like to stir your drink before consuming, ask for a metal spoon. Most children are happy and able to drink without a straw.

However, if you're one of those people who just loves to suck, sip or slurp your drink through a straw, don't despair. By choosing a reusable straw option, you can enjoy your drink and do something good for the planet.

Reusable straw options; the best straw for your lifestyle

Not sure which reusable straw is right for you? Check out Living Smart's guide below.

Stainless steel straws

Long-lasting and robust, stainless steel straws are easy to carry around and hygienic. As stainless steel tends to heat easily, they are only suitable for use with cold drinks.

Stainless steel straws are available in different lengths so you can sip a cocktail guilt-free. Wider stainless steel straws are also available for thicker drinks such as smoothies.

Be sure to purchase stainless steel straws with smooth edges (often marketed as 'safety' straws) to prevent damage to your mouth or lips by rough surfaces.

We love FinalStraw, the world's first collapsible, reusable stainless steel straw that attaches to your keyring. It's currently available for pre-order or pledge your support through their Kickstarter campaign which has already raised over $1.8 million.

Is this your straw?

If you're on the go, love your smoothies and are a juice fanatic, stainless steel straws mean you can slurp guilt-free. Super practical, they'll withstand the knocks and bangs of everyday life and are a great handbag option for anyone who drinks a lot at pubs and clubs.

Check out these ideas:

Glass straws

There's something a little refined about drinking from a glass straw, especially if you've just whipped up a smoothie at home or are sipping your favourite drink at a classy bar.

While glass straws sound a little scary, the best brands manufacture from commercial glass which is strong, durable and less likely to shatter. Look out for brands that offer long-term or lifetime warranties for added peace of mind. The added advantage of glass straws is their ability to withstand extreme heat and cold, making them suitable for hot drinks.

Glass straws come in a range of sizes, from super skinny for hot beverages to extra wide for bubble tea.

With creative designer versions now available such as the funky, colourful designs from strawsome, you're bound to find a glass straw to suit your personality.

Is this your straw?

Glass straws are the fashion statement of the reusable straw world. Beautifully smooth to drink from and available in a wide range of colours and designs, go for glass if you want a reusable straw with style.

Check out these ideas:

Bamboo straws

Attractive and eco-friendly, bamboo straws are naturally sourced and biodegradable. They are cheaper than stainless steel and glass straws but have a shorter lifespan.

You'll need to watch out for splinters and breakaway fibres as bamboo straws begin to age. When they're no longer usable, bamboo straws can simply be placed in your compost heap to break down naturally.

Sizing can be inconsistent due to bamboo being a natural material but this might be perfect if you are seeking straws for a variety of drink types.

Is this your straw?

If you're seeking a natural, eco-friendly, biodegradable alternative to single-use plastic straws, bamboo straws might be ideal for you.

Check these options out:

A note on straws for children

Some of the straws outlined above are unsuitable for children so be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions. Reusable silicone straws are another option to consider for children such as the fun, colourful tie-dye variety by Greenpaxx.

A reusable straw can form part of your travel cutlery kit kept in your handbag or car glove box so it's always accessible.

Regardless of your straw type, you'll also need a straw cleaner (which looks a little like a pipe cleaner) to keep your reusable straw clean and hygienic - some straws come with a cleaning kit so be sure to check at the time of purchase.

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