The Best Straws for your home

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

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. [6] 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.

ADVANTAGES

✓ Available in many colors and patterns
✓ Break proof
✓Can be easily folded or crumpled to take away

DISADVANTAGES

➜ 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


Hard plastic straws

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. [3]

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. [4]

ADVANTAGES

✓ Available in different colors and patterns
✓ Break-proof
✓ Inexpensive

DISADVANTAGEs

➜ 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

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 [8]. 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.

ADVANTAGES

✓ Somewhat more ecological than the disposable plastic straws
✓ Often made in many colors and decorations

DISADVANTAGES
➜ Soaks through quickly
➜ Not completely tasteless
➜ Usually contains dyes and other harmful chemicals
➜ Must be disposed of as general waste


Bamboo straws

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.

ADVANTAGES

✓ Natural material made from renewable raw material
✓ Shatterproof
✓ Biodegradable, can be disposed of with organic waste if untreated

DISADVANTAGES

➜ 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

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. [7]

ADVANTAGES

✓ Long lasting
✓ Dishwasher safe
✓ Shatterproof
✓ BPA free

DISADVANTAGES

➜ 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

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.

ADVANTAGES

✓ Dishwasher safe
✓ No BPA or other plasticizers
✓Taste-neutral
✓ The most hygienic drinking straw
✓ Can be recycled in glass waste (if not borosilicate)

DISADVANTAGES

➜ Big differences in stability depending on the manufacturer
➜ Not every glass is easy to recycle, you have to pay attention to differences in quality



General questions about straws

Why use reusable drinking straws?
Certainly, drinking straws are only one building block in order to free the planet from its overloadingBut it's a very important oneAround 3 billion plastic straws are thrown in the trash every day, making them one of the top ten most common types of pollution found on beachesTime to take this small but effective step and focus on sustainability.
Do Reusable Straws Make a Difference?
Alone through our current customer base (as of Sept 2021) of approx10,000 restaurateurs and tens of thousands of end users of HALM - the drinking straw made of glass , we can now avoid around a ton of single-use plastic per day.
Are reusable drinking straws hygienic?
There is no general answer to thatIt is important to find out about the respective product and weigh its advantages and disadvantagesNot least because of the extremely hygienic properties of glass (very smooth surface, transparent), we decided to produce drinking straws made of glass .

Main questions for all types of straws

  • Are Glass Straws environmentally friendly?
    Basically yesIf you pay attention to the recyclability when buying the glass straw (no use of borosilicate glass or paint), it can be recycled infinitely and without any loss of qualityIn stark contrast to the single-use plastic straw, which is one of the biggest global polluters of our beaches and seasA high-quality glass straw as well as a drinking glass can also be reused for a lifetime.
    Are Glass Straws harmless to health?
    Glass Straws can be made from a very break-proof glass, so that safe use is guaranteedBasically, however, it remains glass and should be dealt with accordinglyOur Glass Straws are checked twice for quality and are currently used by over 10,000 restaurateurs every day with a lower breakage rate than normal drinking glassesGlass can includeDue to the smooth surface of the material, compared to plastic or bamboo, neither absorb nor release substances.
    Can I Glass Straws in the dishwasher?
    You can safely clean Glass Straws in the dishwasherEven the normal rinse cycle is enough for a level of cleanliness that one is used to from a drinking glassShould there be any leftover smoothie in the straw from the day before, simply go through it once with the supplied brush and the straw will shine like new again.
    Are Glass Straws tasteless?
    Yes, in contrast to many other drinking straws, Glass Straws drinking straws are absolutely tasteless and remain so even after thorough cleaning.
    Are Glass Straws hygienic?
    Glass Straws are the most hygienic alternative to plastic strawsEasy to clean and easy to see for dirt, they are always easy to keep clean thanks to the hygienic and smooth glass surface
    For which drinks are Glass Straws suitable?
    Basically, Glass Straws for all drinks that you can otherwise drink with a strawA low sensitivity to cold and heat also make ice-cold smoothies or hot tea possible.
    Are Glass Straws for Hospitality ?
    The easy cleaning, the optical and sensory “performance”, the longevity are just three of the many reasons that speak for the use of glass drinking straws in the catering sectorHALM already supplies more than 10,000 catering establishments worldwide with glass straws (as of Sept 2021).
  • Are metal straws environmentally friendly?
    Due to their durability and recyclability, metal straws can be environmentally friendlyHowever, the recycling process is difficult and can often only be managed with the use of a lot of energyThe same applies to the manufacturing process, for which the environmentally harmful brown coal is often used.
    Are metal straws harmless to health?
    Basically, metal straw ladies are harmless to healthOnly a little thorough cleaning or injuries in the oral cavity due to improper use can possibly become a danger here.
    Can I clean metal straws in the dishwasher?
    Metal straws are easy to clean in the dishwasher per seBecause of the opaque material, it is often not easy to determine whether the straw has become really clean.
    Are metal straws tasteless?
    Metal straws are not guaranteed to be tastelessOften they can leave behind a metallic taste, especially after rinsing, which can interfere with the drinking experienceIn terms of hygiene or health, however, this is harmless.
    Are metal straws hygienic?
    If cleaned thoroughly, metal straws are hygienic and can be reused without any problems due to their smooth surfaceHowever, this also requires thorough cleaning of the interior of the drinking straw.
    For which drinks are metal straws suitable?
    Due to the good heat conduction, metal drinking straws can convince with cool drinks and leave a pleasant feeling of freshnessThis quickly becomes a problem with hot drinks, so you have to let the drink cool down before you can enjoy it so as not to burn your lips.
    Are metal straws suitable for Hospitality ?
    Basically yesLongevity and design speak for itHowever, the laborious and unsafe cleaning makes the use of metal drinking straws a problem, as you often cannot see whether the drinking straw is really clean.

  • Are bamboo straws environmentally friendly?
    As an extremely fast growing plant that is naturally compostable, bamboo could be the almost ideal replacement for disposable strawsThe chemical processing, the less sustainable production on site and the low wages, however, often make bamboo less sustainable in practice than it could be.
    Are bamboo straws harmless to health?
    Basically, it is unlikely to get any health side effects from the use of bamboo stalksNevertheless, bacteria can collect in the wood and multiply through the liquid in the material of the drinking strawLiquids can be drawn into the material through the organ structures, which is why it is important to buy bamboo straws from established manufacturersThe drinking straw is also difficult to see, so that residues can form in the interior.
    Can I clean bamboo straws in the dishwasher?
    Bamboo straws are not easy to wash in the dishwasherNevertheless, this has an effect on the service life, which can often only be significantly less than half a year.
    Are bamboo straws tasteless?
    Bamboo straws have a very distinct taste of their own, which is roughly comparable to that of wooden sticks in water iceThis increases with the length of time that the bamboo remains in the drinkRepeated use can also affect the taste of the drink that has been absorbed from the previous liquids.
    Are bamboo straws hygienic?
    Hygiene cannot be guaranteed because bamboo is a natural substance that can also harbor bacteria in woodHCCP conformity can therefore not be regarded as a given.
    For which drinks are bamboo straws suitable?
    Bamboo straws can generally be used for all drinks where the slight aftertaste of bamboo can be ignoredHowever, it should be noted that the drinking straw can discolour with color-intensive drinks and warm drinks can cause material fatigue to progress.
    Are bamboo straws suitable for Hospitality ?
    Due to the HCCP conformity, which is often not given, bamboo straws are not expressly suitable for HospitalityShort life and heavy cleaning also speak against it.
  • Are silicone straws environmentally friendly?
    Since silicone is a plastic, environmental friendliness can only be given to a certain extentThe disposal infrastructure makes recycling unlikely or even impossibleThis is due to the disposal in the residual waste and the light weight of the drinking straws, which makes it difficult for the filter machines to register them at all.
    Are silicone straws harmless to health?
    Due to the flexibility and the soft feel, silicone drinking straws are harmless, especially for childrenHowever, hard plastic can also loosen over timeIn addition, they are difficult to clean, which is particularly noticeable in the interiorHowever, there are no known serious concerns.
    Can I clean silicone straws in the dishwasher?
    Silicone straws can be cleaned in the dishwasherHowever, residues inside the straw cannot be ruled outIn addition, rinsing with detergent increases wear and tear, which also affects the useful life of the drinking straw.
    Are silicone straws tasteless?
    Silicone straws also have a slightly artificial aftertaste that takes getting used toHowever, this is not particularly intense and especially flavorful drinks are not a problemThe unusual material, on the other hand, can be disturbing.
    Are silicone straws hygienic?
    The static charge on the silicone can cause dust to form on the straw, which is difficult to removeDue to the complicated cleaning, also due to the material, hygienic use is not always given.
    For which drinks are silicone straws suitable?
    Silicone straw holsters can be used for both cold and warm drinksHowever, material fatigue is more likely to set in with warmer drinks.
    Are silicone straws suitable for Hospitality ?
    Due to the static charge and the difficult cleaning, silicone drinking straws are not suitable for HospitalityThey are more of an alternative for use in the household when dealing with small children.
  • Are paper straws environmentally friendly?
    Since paper straws are only intended for one-time use, the origin of the raw materials is crucial for the ÖkoblianzIf wood raw materials are used for processing, the balance of the paper drinking straw is only marginally better than that of a plastic strawTherefore, pay attention to recycled straws.
    Are paper straws harmless to health?
    Paper straws are absolutely harmless to health as long as only natural raw materials are used for processingOf course, the drink should be drunk fairly quickly because the material begins to dissolve in the liquid after a certain period of time.
    Can I clean paper straws in the dishwasher?
    No, as paper straws soften/tear quickly in the dishwasher.
    Are paper straws tasteless?
    Paper straws are not tastelessAlthough they lose their structure only after hours in the liquid, the taste of the paper becomes more intense over time.
    Are paper straws hygienic?
    Paper straws are hygienically unencumbered with standard production and storage, especially since they are used only once and are then disposed of.
    For which drinks are paper straws suitable?
    Paper straws are primarily suitable for cold to lukewarm drinksIf the drink is too hot, the straw can dissolve faster than intended.
    Are paper straws suitable for Hospitality ?
    Due to the one-way product character, they are perfectly suitable for the Hospitality , although depending on which quantities are consumed, economic viability can no longer be givenThe sustainable idea then ultimately takes a back seat, even if no plastic was produced.

Questions about comparisons

Metal Glass Straws?
Basically, both types of straw can be recycledThe quasi “indestructibility” of the material speaks in favor of the metal strawOn the other hand, the significantly better feel, the soft mouthfeel, the neutral taste (metal tastes metallic) and the extraordinarily high hygienic properties speak in favor of the glass strawIn the case of metal straws, it is unfortunately not possible to quickly determine from the outside whetherThere are residues from previous usesThe the Glass straw often alleged, lack of"breakage"dissolves rather quickly when you consider that the glass of glass straws usually a) thicker and b) offers mostly better quality than that of drinking glasses used on a daily basis even of young children will.
bamboo Glass Straws?
When asked whether bamboo or glass straw , you should be aware that there are and will be two completely different drinking experiencesThe significantly better hygienic properties, the quasi lifelong reusability and the Glass Straws speak in favor of glass straws.
Hard plastic straws or Glass Straws
Glass Straws straws, like glass straws, are virtually reusable for a lifetime, but are made from petroleum and usually release carcinogenic plasticizers and other ingredients into the body when they are usedIn Glass Straws, on the other hand, are the significantly better haptics, the soft mouthfeel, the neutral taste (metal tastes metallic) and the extraordinarily high hygienic propertiesGlass Straws (if not made from borosilicate) can also be easily recycled by being melted down and thrown into waste glass bins.
Silicone straws or Glass Straws?
Similar to hard plastic straws, silicone drinking straws can release carcinogenic plasticizers and other ingredients into the bodyThese are also made from petroleum and are not recyclableThe significantly better feel, the soft mouthfeel, the neutral taste (metal tastes metallic) and the extraordinarily high hygienic properties speak in Glass StrawsGlass Straws (if not made from borosilicate) can also be easily recycled by being melted down and thrown into waste glass binsThe the Glass straw often alleged, lack of"breakage"dissolves rather quickly when you consider that the glass of glass straws usually a) thicker and b) offers mostly better quality than that of drinking glasses used on a daily basis even of young children will.
Glass Straws?
Paper straws are the only real alternative to currently often used plastic straws, which are also a disposable productHowever, chemicals are usually used in the manufacture of paper straws and petroleum is also used in the manufacture of colored paper strawsThat is why we clearly glass straw , which scores with its soft mouthfeel, neutral taste and lifelong reusability.