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
In 2018 Countdown announced that it would stop stocking single-use plastic straws. 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
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Written by Kym Moore
When she isn’t herding kids or cats, Kym loves to drink craft beer, or share a whine and a wine with friends. She is also partial to a well-made cocktail. Her happy places include sitting on couch watching British Comedy and daydreaming. Lots of daydreaming.
Favourite artist: Bowie