Why Paper Straws are the Eco-friendliest Option?

In today’s eco-friendly moment a lot of consumers are looking for greener options for everyday products like straws. We’re seeing a huge ban on plastic in major cities and huge Food & Beverage chains opting out of using the plastic straw. However, this change has come with much confusion about what exactly is the best alternative. Going straw-less sometimes isn’t a feasible option, so how can we minimize our damage to this planet most? At the Paper Pipe research lab, we looked into all the alternatives to plastic, including metal, PLA and bamboo and reached a consensus that Paper was by far the eco-friendliest option, if it was being produced under the right conditions.

Metal Straws

The reusable metal straw has taken the world by storm recently. You might see it in bars and restaurants, many people even carry their own around. While using them is a great step towards reducing plastic pollution, in reality the picture is not all that positive. In reality, metal straws require a lot more energy to produce. Their production uses the carbon emissions of 150 plastic straws, so you’d have to use a metal straw 150 times to offset its use. And, this is highly unlikely because metal straws prone to grow bacteria or easily get misplaced.

PLA Straws

PLA straws, although made from natural ingredients and marketed as environmentally friendly, are actually quite the opposite. There is a lot of misconception around PLA straws and whether they are good for the environment. In reality, they are actually only ‘conditionally compostable”- which means they can only compost in industrial conditions with temperatures above 58°C. Unlike paper, they are non-biodegradable, and as a bioplastic they act exactly as plastic does in the environment.

Bamboo Straws

It’s another huge misconception that bamboo straws are the eco-friendliest alternative to plastic. To begin, they aren’t actually that reusable. Given that they grow bacteria really fast and break after a few uses, they’re actually a disposable product that contribute to waste and cost a lot to replace.  They’re also not feasible for the food and beverage industry because they need to be hand-washed. Moreover, the actual sourcing of bamboo is seldom monitored or sustainable, so you never actually know the conditions upon which the bamboo was harvested.  

Paper Straws

So that brings us to paper straws. Paper straws are by far the most environmentally friendly option because they are biodegradable, compostable and break down really quickly. They don’t harm our oceans and require much less energy to produce than any of their alternatives. However, it is important to research the brand and manufacturer of paper straws before purchasing. Different brands have different standards for production as well as sourcing. We, at Paper Pipe, not only source all our paper from responsibly managed local forests, but we also don’t add any chemical substances to our straws during their production. This means our straws are not just safer for the environment, but also your bodies. You wouldn’t want to put something out in the environment that you don’t want to put in your mouth, right?

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