There are many falsely claiming to be environmentally this or that, but the vaste majority are not divulging the true nature of their product. Like room fresheners with “citrus” as their primary ingredient, not divulging that all the other ingredients are harmful to your health and the environment. This is called “Greenwashing”. We provide the resources below to help empower your decision.
Keep in mind, Beyond Green has the same end-of-life as organic matter, while maintaining the qualities of conventional plastics.
* why don’t we provide the real name of the companies”? Frankly, many are trying. We love the fact that people are making an effort to improve our world, even if falling short in the process. We encourage all companies to continue to make every effort to continue the fight. As such, we see them as brothers in arms and encourage our common pursuit of a better world.
All details recovered from competitors stated information on their public websites.
Details accurate as of Dec 2020.
Unknown = Not disclosed or unclear on site.
- Cellulose-based: cellulose pulp from trees
- Polyhydroxyalkonates (Polyhydroxybutyrate) (PHA, PHB) – Microbial source
- Polylactides (PLA) – Lactic acid by fermentation
|Biopolymer||Feedstock||Raw material||Properties||Substitute for|
|Starch-based||Corn, potato, wheat, tapioca||Starch||Low water vapor barrier Poor mechanical properties Bad processability Brittleness||Polystyrene (PS)|
|Cellulose-based||Wood pulp||Cellulose||Low water vapor barrier Poor mechanical properties Bad processability Brittleness||Polypropylene (PP)|
|Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) and (PHB)||Corn, potatoes, maize, tapioca, vegetable oils||Starch||PHAs – ranging from stiff, brittle to semi rubber-like. PHB has better oxygen barrier properties than both PP and PET, better water vapor barrier properties than PP, and fat and odor barrier properties that are sufficient for use in food packaging.||Polypropylene (PP) Polyethylene (PE)|
|Polylactic acid (PLA)||Corn (Major), sugar beet, potatoes, wheat, maize, tapioca||Lactic acid||High tensile strength and modulus. However, its brittleness and low crystallinity led to low thermal stability and limited applications.||Low-density and high-density Polyethylene (LDPE and HDPE) Polystyrene (PS) Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) Polypropylene (PP)|
Optional Straw Materials:
A range of straws are marketed as made from “biodegradable plastics” and, whether that’s PLA (Polylactic acid), Chitosan, or another non-fossil plastic alternative, they sound amazing.
Unfortunately, most bioplastics will only biodegrade quickly under certain conditions – such as the very hot temperatures generated in an industrial composter – and most can’t be recycled either, meaning they’ll be swishing around in the ocean interfering with sea creatures for years, just like standard plastic.
Papaya Leaf Stems
Perfect for fresh coconuts, juices and tropical cocktails, the stem of the papaya leaf makes a beautiful natural straw – if you’re lucky enough to live where they grow. Pluck a leaf from the tree, cut the leaf away from the stem, then rinse the areas where the stem was cut to avoid the taste of sap.
Fast-growing and, in countries where forests are not being cut down to farm it, highly sustainable, bamboo is Asia’s wonder grass. It makes great-looking straws that are perfect for juices and textbook for Tiki if, perhaps, a little organic-seeming for a G&T: Bambaw has dishwasher-safe variants grown sustainably in Bali that also come with a brush. Once they wear out, they compost in a few months.
Compared to metal or bamboo, glass has the advantage that nervous bar-keeps can see whether a straw is clean or not after it comes out of the dishwasher. Available in a range of lengths, diameters, and colors, with bends and without bends, reinforced (and dishwasher friendly) glass straws can cost well under £1 each on Amazon: look for ones made of borosilicate glass, the equivalent of Pyrex.
For a dose of Studio 54 and the glorious 70s, invest in stainless steel straws – although, as wastrels may snaffle the shorter versions, they’re best kept for longer drinks. Amazon has a pack of eight bent stainless-steel straws for just a couple of quid – perfect for highballs. Titanium and sterling silver straws are also available to folk who want to ultra-premium luxury drink.
Compostable, biodegradable and made from renewable resources, Aardvark Straws are paper straws – but not as you know it. They’re durable enough to last up to three hours in cold drinks; they bend; they come in 200-odd colors from neutral black through to Tiki crazy; and the company offers tasty bulk discounts to businesses.
Whatever you’re spending on straws – and lets hope that’s not a lot – you’re likely to spend more if you move to sustainable straws. So it makes economic, not to mention sensory, sense to serve drinks without straws. If guests in your market actually want a straw (or straws), offer them on request – you might be surprised how few actually care.
The drinking straw got its name from the tubular stem of the wheat plant, also known, when dried, as straw. Several companies around the world are trying to bring this deceptively simple, 100% compostable solution back, although natural variations in diameter means it’s not one for the control freak. Straw By Straw’s straws are organically grown, and the perfect accompaniment to retro drinks of all shapes and sizes.
Recently funded on Kickstarter are a new range of straws that promise to be flavored, edible and, apparently, as biodegradable as banana peel. The Loliware straws will ultimately come in two styles: clear and flavorless, like classic plastic straws, and in a range of flavorings to pair with drinks. If they manage to actually make them, and they last, this could be a fantastic gimmick.
If your kids love colorful plastic straws, and tend to chew on them, then silicone straws, available in a range of gaudy colors on Amazon, could be the way forward in the home, if not the workplace. While hard to recycle, silicone produces around nine times less greenhouse gases than its plastic equivalent, so makes a more sustainable choice.