It’s estimated that an average of 30 billion single-use straws are used in Europe annually. These straws, mostly made from modified polymers, pollute the environment, causing irreversible damage to the earth’s ecosystem. To help tackle this issue, families and individuals are now switching to more ecological and sustainable straws. However, choosing and buying eco-friendly straws in Europe can be a bit challenging. Here is how to find your way around it.
How Do You Choose Your Drinking Straw?
Different factors should be considered when choosing a drinking straw. Some of these factors are tied to the straw’s physical structure, like length, diameter, and strength, while others are related to the health of humans and the planet. However, whichever factor(s) influences your choice, making sure you pick the right straw that achieves your purpose is important.
In terms of the straw’s physical structure, considering the drink and the time needed to consume it will help influence your decision-making. The straw’s cost and quality are other factors influencing drinking straw selection.
High-quality straws are usually strong and reusable; they are made from eco-friendly materials, reducing the negative impact of single-use straws on the environment. These types of straws are expensive in the short run but, in the long run, are cost-effective.
On the other hand, low-quality straws are cheap, single-use straws made from non-degradable substances that are harmful to human health and the planet. So, when choosing a drinking straw, the most important thing is how it affects you and your environment.
Depending on your budget, you must pick high-quality straws that can satisfy your needs.
Alternatives to Plastics
These types of straws are made from highly biodegradable materials and are designed to replace single-use plastic straws.
Stainless steel straws
Metal straws are high-quality straws that are gradually gaining popularity in Europe. They are the best of the long drinks and can be carried about easily as they are designed with mobility cases. Another thing that makes metal straws unique is their ability to be recycled. When metal straws have been used for a certain period and are no longer effective and efficient in their purpose, recycling them is the best option. Recycling will help limit waste and preserve unearthed mineral resources.
Bamboo plants are specially grown in Asia; they are durable and sustainable when used to make straws. These straws can be used over a long period but no longer than steel straws. It is a natural drinking straw, biodegradable and compostable.
Produced from agricultural waste, wheat straws are one of the best eco-friendly straws on the market. They can be categorized under single-use straws, the only difference being that they positively impact the planet’s ecosystem.
Designed to be fancy, glass straws are only used by very few people. And this is a result of its cost and durability. Glasses are expensive and highly brittle, making them breakable, but their ability to be recycled makes them a better alternative to plastic.
Paper straws are today’s most widely used compliant alternatives to plastic. They are highly degradable and sustainable and are categorized as single-use straws. Most people find it uncomfortable to use paper straws, especially during a long drink, due to the paper taste it gives drinks—but when you realize its environmental advantage, you will see it’s worth it.
Not allowed drinking straws for EU
Below you will find some bioplastic straws that are not always allowed in European union:
Bagasse or fibers Straws
These straws are made with fribrous substances or organic materials such as cane sugar or potato starch. They can be biodegradable but nevertheless mixed with some chemical polymers to allow plastic flexibility of the drinking straw. They are also not organically grown and may also contain petroleum.
Also known as bioplastic straws, these types of straws are made from corn fiber and are degradable in very specific conditions that are not found in nature and even less so in the ocean. They are therefore only compostable in industry. PLA straws are better than traditional plastic straws but still chemical and not the ideal straws when it comes to preserving or protecting the environment.
Where Can I Buy Drinking Straws in Europe?
There are dozens of platforms where you can buy any straw you choose. Most of these platforms, which are online, offer customers a wide variety of both compliant and unfortunately non-compliant alternative straws to select from. Before buying from any platform (Amazon, Etsy, eBay,…), read the description and reviews to know the type of straw you are purchasing. But there are also some expert, like the platform drinking-straw.com is the number one site within the European Union for all ecological and sustainable straws.
Straws will forever be a part of our drinking culture, so for the planet’s sake, businesses and individuals should consciously move to more sustainable and ecological types of straws.