• Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives

    October 27, 2016 • EAT, GUIDES, PLASTIC FREE / WASTE FREE

    Environmental groups say Australians use about 10 million straws every day, or 3.5 billion a year. And for such a small item that will only have a few minutes of use, their impact on the environment and one’s health is significant!

    But the good news is Biome has a solution. Whatever your drink, there is a reusable straw for you. Here is our guide to the best reusable straws, top tips for looking after them, and where to find them!

    Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives | Biome Eco Stores

    Biome Indooroopilly Shopping Centre – reusable straws for everyone!

    Why do people use drinking straws?

    We know that people love using straws for all kinds of reasons.

    Using a straw is easier than holding and tipping a glass for the young, sick, disabled, and those with shaky hands. Straws also protect the enamel on your teeth when drinking acidic beverages, and even help you avoid stains from coffee. Restaurants and bars supply straws as it makes cleaning glasses easier. Straws also facilitate speedier consumption, so you order and pay for more drinks!

    Why are single use plastic straws bad for the environment?

    If you like to use a straw, there is good reason to switch to a reusable one. Single use plastic straws:

    • Are used for only a few minutes before they are discarded, ending up in landfill or our environment;
    • Cannot be recycled;
    • Are among the most picked up item on beach clean ups (see the Instagram post below!);
    • Do not biodegrade, but instead disintegrate into smaller ‘microplastics’, which fish and marine life consume;
    • Harm animals (sometimes fatally) when they are mistaken for food;
    • Contain BPA, which has been linked to hormonal disruptions, cancer, early onset puberty and obesity; and
    • Leach harmful toxins into everything they touch.

    Are you ready to say ‘no straw, thanks’ or switch to a reusable one?

    A post shared by Biome (@biomestores) on

    Types of reusable straws

    There are many alternatives to single use plastic straws! We have reusable straws made from a range of different materials, that are different shapes, lengths and diameters. Some are suited to certain drinks, while others are better for kids.

    The straws that we sell at Biome are BPA and PVC free, come without packaging, are easy to use, hygienic, and unlike single use plastic straws can either be composted or recycled at the end of their life.

    Stainless steel straws

    Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives | Biome Eco Stores

    Biome’s stainless steel straws are made from 304 grade stainless steel and are available in silver and rose gold (pictured).  They include standard straight straws, bent straws, smoothie straws (wider in diameter for thick drinks), bubble tea straws, cocktail straws and straws with a smooth, rounded safety lip. Our high quality stainless steel straws don’t impart a metallic taste and are dishwasher safe. They are especially nice to use to drink cold drinks, however we don’t recommend them for hot drinks. At the end of their life, stainless steel straws can be recycled in curbside recycling.

    Find stainless steel straws here > 

    Glass straws

    Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives | Biome Eco Stores

    Our Australian made glass straws are made from borosilicate glass tubing – the strongest glass commercially available. They feel particularly luxurious to drink from and are suitable for both cold and hot drinks. Our glass straws are available in a range of colours and diameters, straight and bent. Glass straws can be recycled at the end of their life.

    Find glass straws here > 

    Bamboo straws

    Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives | Biome Eco Stores

    Biome’s bamboo straws are handmade in Vietnam from a single piece of bamboo, which means it can be composted at the end of its life. Bamboo is durable and nice to drink from, and contains a substance called bamboo-kun, which is an antimicrobial agent that gives it a natural resistance to pests and fungi. They are available in standard and smoothie sizes.

    Find bamboo straws here > 

    Silicone straws

    Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives | Biome Eco Stores

    Silicone straws are made from high quality, durable, food grade silicone, and are soft and gentle on the mouth. They don’t conduct heat or cold, so are ideal for both hot and cold drinks. Our silicone straws are non-stick, and their two-piece design makes them easy to clean.

    Silicone cannot be recycled in your curbside recycling bin. However, you can send your silicone straw back to Biome and we will send it to specialist recycling.

    Find silicone straws here >

    Smoothie straws

    Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives | Biome Eco Stores

    Smoothie straws are wider in diameter than standard straws and are ideal for thicker drinks, like smoothies, protein shakes, milk shakes and thick shakes.

    At Biome, we have stainless steel, glass and bamboo smoothie straws available in straight and bent designs.

    Find smoothie straws here >

    Bubble tea straws

    Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives | Biome Eco Stores

    You can now buy reusable bubble tea straws at Biome! Our bubble tea straws were custom made just for you! They are made from high quality 304 grade stainless steel, are 12mm in diameter and have an angled bottom end designed to fit the tapioca pearls. You can also use these straws for smoothies and other thick drinks.

    Find bubble tea straws here >

    Metal cocktail straws

    Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives | Biome Eco Stores

    Our stainless steel cocktail straws are 12cm long and are ideal for use in short glasses and for cocktails. Cocktail straws are available in 8mm and 5mm diameter options. They make a great addition to your home bar!

    Find cocktail straws here >

    The best reusable straw for kids

    We recommend reusable silicone straws for kids as they are gentler on a child’s teeth and mouth. Stainless steel, glass and bamboo straws are rigid, while silicone is soft.

    Please read the important information below with regards to kids using reusable straws.

    Important information about reusable straws

    Before using, always wash your reusable straw thoroughly with a straw cleaning brush.

    A straw is not a toy. Do not walk or run with a reusable straw. Do not let children use a reusable straw unsupervised. People with mobility issues should also take care.

    Anyone using a reusable straw should avoid biting down on it, as it may harm their teeth or mouth.

    How to clean reusable straws

    Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives | Biome Eco Stores

    Rinse your reusable straw immediately after use to prevent residue sticking to the inside. If you’re on the go, suck some plain water through the straw, or rinse it in the bathroom.

    As soon as you can after use clean your straw with a straw cleaning brush and natural detergent in hot water. Choose your straw cleaning brush based on your straw:

    Standard straws and bent straws up to 9mm in diameter:

    Choose this popular straw cleaning brush, this slightly longer Ecococoon straw cleaning brush, or our 100% plastic free coconut fibre straw cleaning brush.

    The steel wire in these options bends with the curve of the straw.

    For straight smoothie straws and bubble tea straws:

    Use this long U Konserve brush that has a wider diameter and more sturdy bristles.

    The wire in this brush will not bend.

    We recommend you put your straw through a dishwasher occasionally for a good clean.

    Where to buy reusable straws

    Reusable straws: Your Guide to Single Use Plastic Straw Alternatives | Biome Eco Stores

    At Biome, we have a reusable straw to suit everyone. We even have a handy reusbale cutlery kit featuring a stainless steel straw, straw cleaner, bamboo fork, knife and spoon, and an organic cotton napkin and pouch to contain it all in.

    Remember to keep your reusable straw in your bag, in your car, and at work, and you will never be caught without one.

    Discover our huge range of reusable straws in our four Brisbane stores and online here >

    The Last Straw

    We are excited to see demand for reusable straws grow due to increasing public pressure on companies and governments to ban plastic straws because of their environmental impact.

    Restaurants, takeaway stores, supermarkets, department stores, hotels, airlines, and entertainment venues across the world are joining the movement our Biome community has been so passionate about since our beginnings 14 years ago! Avoiding single use plastic straws by saying ‘no straw, thanks’ or switching to a reusable one.

    The Last Straw is one such group putting the pressure on.

    The Last Straw is a campaign to reduce the use of single use plastic straws in venues around Australia. They aim to encourage customers to use less single use plastic straws and encourage businesses to give out less straws through staff training and education.

    Is there venue near you that has gone straw free? Find out here >


    Further reading

    www.choosetobestrawfree.com

    www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-19/mcdonalds-australia-to-phase-out-plastic-straws-by-2020/10012172

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