The Last Straw (you’ll ever want)| Reusable Straw Comparison

I have seen some rude people on the internet who just say, straws are only useful if your arms can’t lift glasses. Yes, I am talking to you, Joanne. Some people have disabilities or sensitive teeth, I have a personal preference for straws. I’ve seen you have a personal preference for posting a LOT of photos of chickens.

I like not spilling drinks down my front. I like not having ice bump my teeth. I like protecting my teeth from stains and acid from drinks. So yeah, Joanne, my arms work too. Let’s play nice and let people post their chickens and use their straws without judgement. Plus, we’ve got a lot of reusable choices now so we’re not causing the planet any harm.

For the keychain friendly foldable straw on-the go needs, we have the Final Straw. The Final Straw is also a good width that works for smoothies, milkshakes, and frozen margaritas. Some people have had concerns about cleaning this. I have had absolutely no issues. The packaging includes a squeegee to clean the inside of the silicone.

Plus, you could use a brush when it’s unfolded for the inside and then inside each little ring when it it’s folded if you’re concerned. But seriously, you were trusting bartenders with bins on straws? At least you know where this one has been.

Metal straws will outlast you. They can be washed with boiling water to disinfect. They’re strong and sturdy. The downside to metal straws is they can get hot and cold with the beverage. There are stainless steel straws coming up in Green Giveaways from SoseasUK and EcoFella.

Cleaning Note: Bends in straws do make them a little harder to clean.

Silicone straws are delightful. They are dishwasher safe. They are flexible which means you can get them in a variety of openings. Koffie straw makes them specifically to fit in coffee to go cups to protect your teeth. The best part about silicone straws is you can bend them into the container. I love to do this for smoothies on the go.

For travel, you could fold them up and they’d be less bulky than the Final Straw. I’m not sure how this would be for the longevity of the straw but it’s worth trying.

Silicone straws can also be cut to length. So if you have one that is too long for your normal vessel, you can shorten it! Don’t forget to trim them at an angle so they don’t suction to the container.

On the downside, if your smoothies are too thick, silicone (even for the Final Straw above) can collapse.

Cleaning Note: Silicone straws can be on the difficult side to clean with the brush because they’re bendy. This is doubled for silicone straws with a built in bend. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is something to consider.

Bamboo straws are naturally antimicrobial and compostable. This would be great for an event if you wanted to use straws that were disposable. They’re absolutely reusable but would make a disposable option too. We have bamboo straws included in Green Giveaways from Eco Fella.

Rigid plastic straws seemed to hit the market first so I have a handful. They’re cute and come in a variety of colors. They’re just as easy to clean as metal. I could see for longevity they would be less attractive than steel. These straws can bend and melt and are not dishwasher safe. They also wont breakdown like bamboo.

So, now go stick that in your drink. If that is your choice.

Advertisements

Giant Box, Tiny Purchase, and other Ecofriendly Shipping Woes.

After using a random number generator to select the first few winners of Green Giveaways, I realized…shoot! How should I ship this stuff? I was inspired by the way the partners had chosen reused, recycled, and recyclable packaging.

I decided to look into what would be the most eco friendly way to ship something. In our society, the pressure is frequently placed on the recipient to take care of recycling. But, if I wanted these to be truly green giveaways, I felt I should make it as simple as possible for the winner to dispose of the packaging.

Here were some of my considerations:

  1. Space

Have you ever gotten a box from an online retailer that is just WAY too big for the one item they placed inside? Yes. We all have. This is bad for a few reasons (including cost to the shipper).

First, think of all the extra material used to ship to you. Extra box space means extra trees.


Second, think of the extra space that item took up in the cargo plane, truck, car, boat. That’s excess fossil fuels burned en route.

If you fit packaging to the item, it is more environmentally friendly and economical.

2.) Material

How recyclable are recyclable packaging materials? Something I have learned recently is that there is a difference between recyclable and ‘you can put this in your recycling bin’.

Plastic provide protection from the elements. However, some plastic packaging is easily recycled and some isn’t. Plus, I can’t control how shipping materials are disposed of once it is dropped in the mailbox.

Paper is easily recyclable. But, it does not provide protection from the elements. There are less options for padding for small items. For larger items. using a box with paper tape is a viable option.

Paper outside with bubble padding is a good option because these envelopes are made from recycled materials. By buying items made from recycled materials we create a market for recyclable waste which incentivizes a circular economy.

3.) Mailing labels

Recyclable plastic bubble packs are generally recyclable if you take the mailing label off…ok? Who is going to be able to get the stamp, mailing label and any tape residue off in order to recycle?

Recyclable water based labels are a thing. Also, handwriting on a paper package also seemed like a viable option.  Would this be environmentally equivalent to permanent marker on the plastic packaging? I’m not sure. It seems like avoiding plastic where possible is the best choice.

So what did I decide?  

For more hearty stuff, I decided on eco mailers without padding. It is essentially cardstock (paper) which should be recyclable or compostable. If I write the address or use a recyclable label, it won’t matter. The recipient will be able to toss the whole thing in the recycling bin.  As far as space is concerned, this was the best way to ship relatively flat items without excess space.

For more fragile stuff…that is yet to be determined.I am leaning towards using spare newspaper to pad the items or wrapping it in canvas tote bags. So those winners might get a bonus gift. Luckily, none of the items thus far are faberge eggs.

If you are interested in being a shipping supplies sponsor for Green Giveaways or have additional questions, write me at SarahRyan@sincerelysailing.com.