Plastic Free: Straws, Beautiful Straws

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Don’t forget, it’s Pennywise Platter Thursday tomorrow!

I’ve become more and more concerned with plastics, and everywhere I turn, it’s there! We are truly over run with plastics. Not only are there health concerns with plastic, but they really are terrible for our environment too. Plastic bags can kill marine life, it stays in the environment for a very long time (if not forever), and it’s just plain ugly to see plastic trash all of the roadside.

But it’s really quite hard to avoid! My goal is reduce our plastic waste and along the way I hope to bring reviews of plastic free alternatives and updates on my progress.

And what better place to start then with our straws! We like having smoothies for breakfast (when we aren’t having oatmeal or eggs), and we have been thoughtlessly buying plastic straws for them. It was time for them to go. Today, I would like to bring you two plastic free alternatives that we all love!

I find that having plastic free straws are important with toddlers because they just love straws, and who wants to have them sucking on plastic every morning?

Paper Straws: What straws were before plastic took over the world
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My mother said that growing up she had straws just like these. They are completely biodegradable (unlike their plastic counterparts). I was curious to see how they would work, though. Paper sounded a little flimsy. I was actually surprised to find that they were quite thick and sturdy and that they didn’t immediately fall part in liquid. They actually lasted quite well! The only problem was smoothies. You see we make our smoothies very thick with frozen fruit and we have to suck so hard on the straws that they couldn’t quite handle the pressure and started collapsing. But it works really well for most drinks, like iced coffee.

These are quite frugal to buy, at only three dollars a box, but unfortunately I have to buy them online which means shipping. I bought three boxes to make the shipping not so unreasonable per box and that helped.

The place I bought mine doesn’t carry them anymore, but there are several other places including this one who sell them still.

Glass Straws: Everything Wonderful in a Straw

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And now my favorite choice. Handmade, USA made, beautiful glass straws. These are amazing! When I mentioned to my family that I was getting glass straws, they thought I was a little crazy! It sounded so…….breakable. But I can assure you that even I was surprised at how sturdy these glass straws are. They really are quite thick, especially the larger sizes. Here is information from Glass Dharma about why they are so strong.

* Made of borosilicate tubing and is the strongest glass commercially available.
Means that we have spared no expense in bringing you the strongest, most durable drinking straw possible.

* Annealed to Corning, Inc. specifications (a process that strengthens the glass).
So you can have confidence you are purchasing the highest quality glass straws available.

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Not only that, but they have a lifetime guarantee against breakage too (if you manage to break yours, they will replace it for free). Pretty good, eh?

The other thing I was concerned with was cleaning them, but that proved to be a cinch with the specially made (and cheap-to-buy) brushes he sells to clean them with.

The first time Elena got to use hers, she was thrilled! She liked the 7 inch small straw with dots on it (pictured on the top of this article). It’s just her size, so we decided that that would be her straw.

Overall, I do think I like the thinner straws better, for mouth feel. But that’s just personal preference. Hey, he even has a straw with a bend in it! Just like plastic straws. How fun is that?

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What I most appreciate about the glass straws, besides their artistic value, is the fact that they aren’t disposable. We throw so many things away in our culture. It’s nice to have something more permanent. I also just love that I can actually get something made in the USA! It’s so very rare to be able to buy a product that’s not made in China. And this is one of those rare opportunities.

The one rule we have made in our household with glass straws is that they must be used at the table! It’s not that we are worried about them breaking, but it’s a bad idea to let a toddler run around with a hard object in her mouth.

To buy these beauties, go here.

I don’t think we are going to miss plastic straws at all! Between our paper and glass straws, I think we are well set!

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What do you think? Would you be willing to give up plastic straws? Have any “going plastic free” tips?

Paper straws and cleaning brushes were purchased by myself, the glass straws were generously given to me by Glass Dharma. Special thanks to them for the beautiful straws!

KimiHarris

I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

Comments

  1. says

    You must have been standing in my kitchen yesterday as I gauzed upon the bag of plastic straws from Walmart that I so regretted buying! I’m buying the glass straws for my five kids for Christmas. And yes, I would definitely give up plastic straws and I’m sure they will, too. I’m working on getting rid of plastic containers for our lunch boxes. I’m little leary about sending a five year old to school with a glass container, but I’m pretty certain that my thirteen year old will be okay.

  2. says

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I’m trying very hard to remove as much plastic as I can from the house and I was stuck on straws. And everywhere we go the resturants give the kids plastic straws. Grr…. But I assumed there wasn’t an alternative (silly me!) and I’m so excited to find out there is. And fun straws? Forget about it, my kids will flip out:)

  3. Betsy says

    I bought a set of those glass straws and love them! I can’t answer the dishwasher question – I wash mine by hand. They came with a little narrow brush that cleans out the inside. I carry one in my purse for drinks bought outside the home.

  4. emma says

    i love it went you have your daughter’s picture in posts. she’s such a cutie. it always me smile. thanks for the topic too – i’m also really concerned about this. i recently threw away all my plastic storage containers and replaced them with stainless steel. (expensive up front, but they should last so much longer.)

  5. says

    Without kids or a love of smoothies, I don’t really use a lot of straws in my life, but I went to the old-fashioned Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia the other day and used a paper straw in my homemade root beer float. It was wonderful. I thought it was slightly cruel to make the teenagers who work there wear old-fashioned long sleeved outfits with no A/C on a 95 degree day, but it’s probably a lot more healthy than being exposed to nasty fumes from a drive-in if they worked at a fast food place.

    I try to keep a metal spoon in my bag to avoid getting plastic ones. I have had a lot of strong reactions, especially from ice cream place employees — everything from being tickled pink to shocked disbelief.

  6. Sarah Nissen says

    I love the glass straws! I also use compostable straws. I’m not sure about the health concerns with them – they are made from corn. But, at least they are biodegradable in the sun!

  7. says

    I love the Christmas gift idea! Our stockings are pretty small, and it’s really hard to come up with ideas that fit, are reasonably priced, and aren’t cheap plastic junk. I’m definitely going to place an order.

  8. says

    I have been trying to cut down on our plastic consumption here at home and boy you are right, it is hard!! Straws are such a great idea…I didn’t even think of this area! And you are so right, they go in the trash…usually after a single use. My daugther’s physical therapist said that allowing her to drink out of a straw helps her facial muscular development. (She is a bit on the low-tone side.) I love the idea of the fancy glass straws, and the paper ones are definitely worth a try in my toddler-driven family. Thanks for the tips and the sources! Great post!

  9. debbie says

    This is so great! I should have done the research myself a few weeks ago, but it honestly never occurred to me that there might be something other than a plastic straw. We, too, have been working toward a plastic-free kitchen for some time… this post will get us one step closer. (And I love the idea of putting them in Christmas stockings!)

  10. says

    I came across paper straws at a thrift store recently. I didn’t buy them but was reminded of the long ago days of paper straws at my grandma’s house too. I wonder why they stopped making them. It seems to me it’s time to bring them back!
    I would love to buy some glass straws. Thanks for the link. I bet these glass straw makers are going to see some increases in sales because of this post. Hooray for homemade!!!!

  11. says

    How cool! My mother has some gorgeous glass straws that she inherited, but they are so fragile they’re virtually unusable. I’m so glad to know that there are more durable glass straws out there. I love how elegant and classy they are. In fact, I just added the beaded style to my Christmas wish list. :-)

  12. says

    Kimi, when you say you like the thinner ones, do you mean the “ice tea” straws? Are they big enough for drinking smoothies or will I need the “smoothie” straws if that’s my primary use? I’m trying to figure out which are the most versatile. Thanks!

  13. says

    I would love to find some history and/or pictures about the old “more fragile” glass straws. My mom remembers them from the hospitals in the 40s and 5os and someone saw them mentioned in a M.A.S.H. episode. Please post if anyone has more information about the history behind the idea of glass straws or photos of what they looked like.
    Thank you so much! Great feature!

  14. Sarah says

    Glass straws – how cool! I’ve also seen a blog from a mom who uses stainless steel straws for the same reason.

  15. Jen K says

    I put stainless steel straws from Amazon on my wish list because I always that that glass straws were too fragile (especially with little ones). Now I’m torn! Have you had any experience with stainless steel? I really like using straws (and have been reusing the same plastic ones for a very long time which is probably even worse) and can’t wait to get actual reusable ones. Glass or stainless steel…that is the question!

  16. says

    I am thrilled about the glass straws. Just a note to the mom who hopes to send her child to school with glass lunch containers…many schools above the preschool level forbid glass containers or anything being brought to school in glass. It is a safety issue, I guess. You can get metal thermoses, though, and ours have lasted for years.

  17. Ally says

    There are paper straws available in diffierent sizes. I bought some about a year ago because I have two young boys that I would not trust with glass straws. :) The paper ones have been great and are compostable. We chose to buy a bulk quantity (we’ll be set for a couple more years), and without wrappers (why bother with more paper when we can store them in tall glass jars). And the company is an original from 1888 and they are made in the US. The link: http://aardvarkstraws.com/
    Hope this helps those who would otherwise be stuck with plastic.
    Ally

  18. says

    We bought stainless steel straws from Amazon last year and we love them. My daughter uses them every day, and we can pop them right into the dishwasher. No problems with smoothies or milkshakes, either.

  19. January says

    I just bought my girls straws the other day and thought about the plastic. These are great and I think they would make wonderful stocking stuffers for Christmas.

  20. Linda Stiles says

    I have been wanting these for some time now. They are on my wishlist! One of these days I am going to buy them…the glass ones for our morning green smoothies. Right now we use reusable thick plastic ones. I want to go glass though and already have gotten rid of tupperware type stuff and use glass jars for storage.

    Thanks for reminding me I wanted them! :)

  21. Kathy says

    Brilliant! I hate buying bag after bag of straws! The hard plastic ones were difficult to clean and well, still plastic! We will be checking these out! Good work and thanks!!!

  22. says

    I love the idea of glass straws, but I was afraid of the breakage issue, too. I have looked into the stainless steel straws, too. Unfortunately, it is not in the budget right now for me to try them. :( We use straws, but not often enough to justify buying reusable, but when that time comes, I’m totally game! Thanks for the review!

  23. Tammy says

    I really like the idea of glass straws – we will have to try them! For smoothies, we use stainless steel straws with a little spoon on the end sold by Williams-Sonoma. They are great!

  24. Em says

    The straws are beautiful, but another way to solve this problem is just not to use straws. We don’t, never have. With that one decision – no shipping, no packaging, no manufacturing, no safety or disposal concerns.

  25. says

    Kimi, this is fantastic! I have recently been bemoaning our use of plastic straws (and we do use them frequently- almost daily smoothies, not to mention iced coffee type drinks that I make, among other things). I hadn’t yet dug in to start researching what other options were out there, but I love both of the options that you’ve found! Seriously, you made my day. :) My husband might think I’m crazy when I tell him about the glass straws, but I’m glad to hear that they’re so strong and that even Elena is using them.

  26. Heidi M. says

    With Abbie’s enlightening comment about straw use being recommended by her daughter’s physical therapist for aiding facial muscular development, and Em’s good point about simply not using them, I set myself to do a little research and came up with this very interesting article titled Straws As Therapy Tools:

    http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:LqEd5BM25_8J:www.talktools.net/site/files/Articles%2520for%2520Web/Straws%2520as%2520Therapy%2520Tools.pdf

    (It is in a viewing pdf format, not downloading pdf format so it should be okay for slow connections.)

    The basic gist of it is that drinking from a straw strengthens a child’s muscles and naturally increases awarenes of how to utilize them for speech. Fascinating stuff. Thank you so much, ladies, for getting me thinking and learning!

  27. tina says

    These straws look great! I bought some glass straws a couple years ago but I don’t let my kids drink from them since I’m afraid they’ll break. I agree with others – these straws would be a great idea for gifts!

  28. says

    I have been thinking about this very same topic lately. thanks for answering my questions without me having to do the research. now i must get myself some pretty glass straws!

  29. Herbwifemama says

    These are SO great! I don’t buy straws because of the wasteful/plastic angle, but I’m the only one in my family who feels that way. We end up buying a box every now and then to my chagrin, and I have to say, smoothies DO go down a lot easier with a straw! I’m going to order some! Thanks so much for this!

  30. Christina says

    I covet! You didn’t happen to get a discount code from them for posting to your site did you? My friends and I are putting together a good sized order. . .

  31. Laura says

    I fell in love with the glass straws when I saw them about a year ago, until a friend of mine told me she had one and it chipped during washing. After that I wouldn’t consider them… so I got a set of stainless steel ones instead and just love them. Still love the style of the glass, but not willing to risk having them break in my family’s mouths. Stainless has worked great so far and no aftertaste. Easy to clean, too. I’d say it’s a personal decision for everyone. I got this 4pk of stainless straws for those considering stainless instead: http://www.brightandbold.com/stainlessstraws.html

  32. says

    Stainless steel drinking straws are also a very long lasting and healthy alternative to plastic straws. With stainless steel you never have to worry about breakage.

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