Straws have become an integral part of many private households, whether it's for morning smoothies or juices, milkshakes or evening cocktails. It is worth taking a look at the most sustainable and practical alternatives to plastic straws Plastic straws along with other environmentally damaging single-use plastics have been banned since July 03, 2021 across the entire European Union.
Silicone straws are soft and pliable, which can take some getting used to. However, this consistency can be an advantage for toddlers. Silicone however, as soft plastic can contain BPA.  Cleaning can be made more difficult because silicone can become statically charged and therefore attracts dust that is difficult to remove. Due to the difficult cleaning, silicone drinking straws are not suitable for Hospitality.
Silicone is not biodegradable and is only rarely recycled because the infrastructure for it is lacking. Most municipalities regulate disposal via residual waste or handing it in at a recycling center.
✓ Available in many colors and patterns
✓ Break proof
✓Can be easily folded or crumpled to take away
➜ Not entirely tasteless
Consistency takes getting used to
➜ May contain BPA and other chemical residues
➜ Silicone attracts dust and is often difficult to clean even in the dishwasher
➜ Silicone is not biodegradable
➜ Usually not recycled
In fact, there are also reusable plastic straws. The reusable hard plastic straw is ecological because it's preferable to the disposable plastic straw. But plastic as a material is extremely questionable because it is made from petroleum. Not only is it a raw material that is becoming increasingly scarce, it also has worrying effects on the climate.
When processing plastic, additives are added: plasticizers such as BPA, stabilizers, flame retardants and Fillers . These harmful substances can become detached from the plastic and be absorbed by the human body. These substances dissolve particularly easily, especially in combination with alcohol or acid. 
Regarding disposal, it should be said that most of such drinking straws are theoretically recyclable, but unfortunately, due to the dual disposal system in most municipalities, they have to be disposed of in the general waste. This is because only packaging with the green dot or allowed items are viable for the recycling bin. The light weight of the plastic straw also leads to problems. Even if a community accepted straws for recycling, they would be too thin and light for machines to pick up. They are sorted out by hand and also end up in the trash. 
✓ Available in different colors and patterns
➜ Made from petroleum
➜ Contains BPA
➜ Not tasteless, tastes like plastic and chewed on
➜ Partly not dishwasher-safe
➜ Must be disposed of with general waste in most municipalities
Paper straws are not reusable. Nevertheless, we think that it is important to include these in the comparison, as they are often bought as an alternative to plastic straws.
Paper straws are a little more ecological than plastic drinking straws. Most of the paper can be degraded in the environment, but most of the paper straws on the market are not only made of paper, they also contain color Dyes and other chemicals to protect in from dissolving too quickly, although it rarely works and detrimental to the taste and quality of your drink. Recent reports have shown that the color used in paper straws contains a carcinogenic substance . Alcoholic or acidic beverages release these chemicals into the beverage even quicker. Paper straws also get thrown away in the general waste and must therefore be processed in a similarly laborious and unsustainable way as plastic straws.
When it comes to handling, paper straws are often used and then soak after a short time and in general less stable compared to more popular straw alternatives like Glass Straws or Metal Straws. The paper residue taste is often present and can turn even the tastiest cocktail into a bad drinking experience.
✓ Somewhat more ecological than the disposable plastic straws
✓ Often made in many colors and decorations
➜ Soaks through quickly
➜ Not completely tasteless
➜ Usually contains dyes and other harmful chemicals
➜ Must be disposed of as general waste
Bamboo is a great Natural material and a plant that grows very quickly. It is compostable unless it is has beenchemically processed. Unfortunately, pesticides are often used to accelerate the growth of bamboo plants for industry use. Bamboo is not a native plant and is mostly imported from Asia. There, the harvest is often carried out under poor conditions by underpaid workers. The straws also give a distinct undesirable woody taste in your mouth.
Whilst bambook straws might seem eco-friendly, unfortunately they arenot very hygienic. The mouthpiece of bamboo straws is often cut roughly and has open pores that can trap bacteria from multiple users. Because it is a natural material, it is not suitable in warm climates or use in hospitality. Bamboo straws are not easy to clean and it is difficult to identify any left-over impurities. As with most bamboo products, bamboo straws cannot be cleaned in the dishwasher. The lifespan of a bamboo straw is therefore severely limited and may only last between 6 months and a year. As bamboo straws do not meet hygiene standards for the hospitality industry under HACCP conformity, they are not an option and especially dangerous in times of wide-spread virus transmissions.
✓ Natural material made from renewable raw material
✓ Biodegradable, can be disposed of with organic waste if untreated
➜ The shortest lifespan compared to the other straw alternatives
➜ Not tasteless, with a distinct bamboo taste on the tongue
➜ Can be contaminated with pesticides
➜ Often imported from outside Europe causing high Co2 emissions.
➜ Difficult to clean, not dishwasher safe
➜ Unsuitable for bars or cafes - non HACCP-compliant due to wood bacteria & the difficult cleaning due to the discoloration of the bamboo
➜ Quickly discolored by the drinks
Metal straws or stainless steel straws are break-proof and therefore last a long time. Metal straws are dishwasher safe and BPA free. They are good for cold drinks, but unfortunately quickly heat up, which can make it difficult to use with hot drinks. Metal straws are not tasteless and can leave a metallic aftertaste in the mouth. They also deliver unusual mouthfeel , as they are often sharp-edged and in the worst case can lead to injuries. A big disadvantage is the poor cleaning. Stainless steel and metal drinking straws do not have a smooth surface on whichbacteria can settle and not easily identified in the cleaning process. In addition, the inside of the drinking straw is never completely visible and impurities can accumulate.
Metal straws can theoretically be recycled, but must be taken to a special metal recycling facility. In addition, 71% carbon is used in the stainless steel manufacturing process. 
✓ Long lasting
✓ Dishwasher safe
✓ BPA free
➜ Not Hygienic
➜ Leaves a metallic aftertaste in the mouth
➜ Conducts heat very quickly, there is a risk of burns
➜ Stainless steel creates an uncomfortable feeling in the mouth, especially on the teeth
➜ The sharp edges of the mouthpiece also represent an increased safety risk, especially for children.
➜ Cannot be recycled without problems, has to go to a special recycling facility
Glass straws are really one of the only sustainable straws that will give you the best taste experience! Eco-friendly drinking straws made of glass are the most hygienic, healthy and sustainable option when it comes to drinking straw. This is because glass has an extremely smooth surface, is transparent and lasts a lifetime when treated with care. Glass straws are easily to clean in the dishwasherthousands of times. Being transparent, Glass straws are the only straw that you can ensure 100% hygiene and pure taste.
Whilst HALM Straws have forged their way in the Glass Straw innovations, many other glass straws available (especially those made in China) are not safe, and are not produced with quality glass. When choosing glass straws, it is important to choose the best quality. The wall thickness, quality assurance and quality assurance should play an important role here. The mouthpiece of glass straws should always be smoothlyrounded. Even though glass straws are very strong, they are still glass, and just like any drinking glass, if they take a nasty fall onto a hard surface like tiles or cement, they may break. However, if used safely, a glass straw will last for years and even a lifetime as it one of most longest lasting reusable material available. Glass straws also come in up different sizes, 6 different lengths from the market leader!Whether you have a tumbler cocktail glass, a smoothie jar or reusable water bottle, reusable glass straws are available for any drinking glass or cup. Another great quality of glass, is that it can be easily engraved and etched with funny quotes or beautiful designs. Laser engraving on glass straws is a sustainable alternative to opting for colored drinking straws. Unfortunately the color used in many other glass straws is not sustainably sourced and often petroleum-based, negating the eco-friendly goal in the first place.
When it comes to recycling, a distinction must also be made when it comes to glass straws. Unfortunately, not every Glass straw is recyclable, because it depends on exactly the type of glass used and other added substances. Many manufacturers use Borosilicate glass. Borosilicate glass and mixed Quarz glass drinking straws are not very environmentally friendly and if broken, bust be disposed in general waste and cannot be recycled. Look out for the best quality glass straws to ensure you are purchasing pure glass that can be reused over and over again without loss of quality.
✓ Dishwasher safe
✓ No BPA or other plasticizers
✓ The most hygienic drinking straw
✓ Can be recycled in glass waste (if not borosilicate)
➜ Big differences in stability depending on the manufacturer
➜ Not every glass is easy to recycle, you have to pay attention to differences in quality