" Is Metal Straw better than a Glass Drinking Straw or is a Bamboo Drinking Straw better then Stainless Steel Straw?" Are Metal Straws better for the environment?
This is a very common question that comes to one's mind who is thinking about making a switch to reusable straws from single use plastic disposable straws.
Well, all reusables are better than their single use disposable alternates as long as they have been sourced sustainably (from raw material to the making process), can be reused for a substantial period of time (this differs from product to product as some products can be handed to the next generation) and end of life do not leave an impact on the environment. If a reusable ticks all these boxes then they are better than their single use counterpart.
But not all reusables are created equal. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misleading information and Green-Washing in the current sustainability industry today and it comes down to the individual brand, people behind the brand and their motive behind.
This is where as users and consumers we have to do our part, seek information, ask questions and compare the products and how truly ethical and sustainable they are.
Comparison of various drinking straws too is a bit like that and we need to look into various aspects of the products and match it with our own personal needs. What suits one person does not necessarily suit someone else.
Let's look into metal straws. Majority of the metal straws are made of Stainless Steel and at times Titanium as well. Stainless Steel straws depending on their grade would have their life.
Rusting is a natural process and if you have a good grade of stainless steel like #304 or #316 they would last longer as compared to poor grade.
So the question, do metal straws rust- answer depends on the grade of stainless steel used in the making of straws.
How to clean Metal Straw with Brush?
A metal straw with minimum 8mm diameter is easy to clean as compared to 6mm diameter one. One can buy a straw cleaning brush to clean the straws and good quality straws are fine to go into a dishwasher hence solves the question of how to clean the metal straws without brush.
Are Metal Straws safe to use?
While using metal straws it is recommended to use it in a comfortable sitting position and not while walking, running, driving or in motion.
Young kids should not be offered metal straws and supervision is recommended for children to make sure they learn the safe way of using a straw like they learn using fork and knife.
Metal is a good conductor of heat hence caution is needed when using metal straw for hot drinks. Always make sure the temperature is right and safe for drinking.
Glass drinking straws are equally good and for those who are a bit concerned about the cleaning part of metal straws. Glass is pure, transparent and easy to clean. One can actually see inside if it is perfectly clean or not. They look elegant, simple yet graceful.
But again with the glass straws make sure the quality of glass is good. Borosilicate glass is durable and far more resistant to thermal shock than any other glass, resists chemicals and is lead free and BPA free making it perfect for food and drinks. In fact a Glass Drinking Straw is perfect for warm drinks as compared to a Metal Straw as metal being a good conductor of heat.
Being glass, breakage is still a possibility so if you are concerned about this part then consider investing in a good quality Stainless Steel Drinking Straw.
Bamboo is quite ecological and requires least amount of processing to make it into a straw. But unfortunately, quite a few times gets treated and coated to increase the storage and shelf life. That's why before purchasing a bamboo straw or products made from bamboo always ask the manufacturer if formaldehyde or similar toxic chemicals have been used in the treatment of their products or not.
Secondly, a point worth considering is that bamboo drinking straws cannot be left dirty or in the water for longer as they start getting damaged and reduce the life of product. Even though Bamboo is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, being plant based it will break down with the elements of nature.
We do not make bamboo straws here in Australia and they come from overseas and getting them here requires manpower, resources, shipping etc. and if the life is too short then Bamboo drinking straws are more like disposable straws and it would be worth researching if the resources justify the life span of the product.
The good thing about Bamboo drinking straws is end of life they are easy to return back to the nature and would not leave a trace behind. They may leave toxins depending if any treatment of chemicals was done during the making of bamboo straws.
Bamboo Straws too are better than Stainless Steel Straws for warm drinks but at the same time it means cold drinks feel cooler with metal drinking