Phasing out plastic straws

Single-use plastic is one of the hottest topics lately. Because of the focus, I have become more aware of plastic in packaging and when I’m out and about.

Plastic … plastic everywhere

I have my reusable shopping bags, but feel a bit sick whenever I use a plastic produce bag. I have mesh bags on my next shopping list! As much as I love some of the collectible toys my kids buy, I’m also pretty horrified by the sheer amount of wrapping. Though I don’t know how we avoid some of it, when much of it is in place to deter shoplifters and nuisance tamperers.

I also have a little cringe whenever I order a drink and it comes with a plastic straw. I mentally note the places that are regularly using paper straws, and pick those places over others. When I go to a chain restaurant, I am disappointed by the plastic cups and straws on offer.

Bye bye plastic straws

Recently, Countdown announced that it is going to stop stocking single-use plastic straws. You can read the article here. I applaud this move and hope that it’s one of many to trickle through to us consumers. When I think about these changes, I’m reminded that growing up we didn’t have a recycling bin. Yet now, separating our recycling is totally normal. Reduced plastic usage will become the norm soon enough too.

With this move to stop stocking plastic straws, I see a lot more straw alternatives being used. This is good news for Mother Earth. Now if only we can help move some of the larger chains away from plastic cups and straws, that would be a good move too. It would be great to see pasta straws more readily available here as well, though they aren’t suitable for hot drinks.

Foodstuffs who own PAK’nSAVE and New World are also reducing their single use plastic items for sale. Though they raised a good point regarding straw alternatives for differently-abled customers – paper straws don’t always last for hot drinks and metal heats up, unlike plastic. Hopefully we can find better alternatives soon. Potentially bamboo straws could work well? What do you think?

Alternatives to plastic straws

Here’s a few alternatives that are making their way on to the market:

  • Paper straws – Cheap, easy to dispose of, not reusable
  • Stainless steel straws – Basically indestructible, BYOS (bring your own straw), not OK for hot drinks unless you use a silicone tip
  • Pasta straws – Biodegradable, not suitable for hot drinks, not reusable
  • Bamboo straws – Compostable, reusable but limited lifespan, OK for hot drinks
  • Glass straws – Reusable, easy to see if they’re clean, but they are breakable
  • Silicone straws – Reusable, OK for hot drinks, pliable making them good for kids and the elderly
  • Straw straws (wheat stems) – Compostable, not reusable, may not be OK for hayfever sufferers

This article was written by Kym Moore. Kym is a working mum of two, and occasional blogger. Fancies herself a writer, when she isn’t editing her kids’ vlogs or running their social media at Baby Likes Cake. Follow them on Facebook and YouTube.

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6 Comments

  1. Shorrty4life1 20/10/2018 at 8:12 pm

    Interesting read. I have used paper straws at zest restaurant and found they go sloppy in your drink. It was in an iced chocolate and I found it terrible. It’s going to be odd not having plastic eventually. We use alot of plastic bags etc at work in resthome so I’m curious to know what they will do instead. Life will be so different wit no plactic.

  2. dawnblyth 16/10/2018 at 10:52 pm

    I still have plastic strawers in my cupboard and I always thought they were recycable? Perhaps I have been wrong all this time but I have always put them in the recycle bin. When they are gone I doubt I will replace them with metal straws etc as the times we use them are very few and far between. I think its a good idea to watch what we are doing with our planet however I have to wonder at what point do people need to step up and take responsibility for the correct disposal of their rubbish. I have often driven past parks and have seen takeaway bags or dirty nappies lying right next to the rubbish bins because people are too lazy to put their rubbish in the bins properly.

  3. Mands1980 15/10/2018 at 6:45 pm

    I purchased some stainless steel straws they are more expensive but at least they last forever. All the places I have been too for meals have paper straws as well so the message is getting out there about plastic and how bad it is for the environment.

  4. Bevik1971 15/10/2018 at 12:39 pm

    I’m going to purchase some stainless steel straws with a cleaning brush for our 5 year old, she loves using straws but I’m not using plastic ones anymore. Not world friendly but also very germ ridden unless cleaned properly. I did see that Countdown have phased the plastic ones out yay! They have a good selection of Bio/paper straws too so that’s great 🙂

  5. SarahBlair 13/10/2018 at 5:16 pm

    I love that Countdown is doing so much and leading the way to phase out single use plastics! We need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, they do so much damage in almost every form that they are made into! I will be looking into using bamboo straws, I think that it is a much better idea than plastic!!

  6. kymmage 12/10/2018 at 9:45 pm

    I was in Countdown yesterday and I went to the picnic section and BOOM no plastic straws. They had paper and they had bamboo. The bamboo packets had a little brush with them too. I definitely want to get a set and give them a try. I have just converted to a bamboo toothbrush recently and I actually really like it. It feels so much more natural compared to a bulky plastic toothbrush. Previously I have struggled with gagging while trying to brush my teeth and it was mainly because it felt like I was chewing on a rubber shoe or something. Bamboo straws will probably be a winner for me!

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