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If you think the idea of boycotting disposable straws is stupid, that’s okay. You do you. This Earth Day, however, I’m finally making good on a resolution I’ve been putting off for years. I’m already using washable menstrual products, cloth diapers, family cloth (yes, that’s washable toilet paper) and handkerchiefs. I’ve had worm composts in my apartment and stored soiled, biodegradable cat litter to ferry it to my father-in-law’s farm for monthly disposal. So ya, cutting out straws is most definitely the least “gross” eco-action I’ve taken in a long time.
We were using reusable stainless steel straws at home long before kids came along, and in self-serve restaurants, I always skip the straw. But at restaurants where a straw is given without a second thought, and when I’m buying Cub a bottle of juice or milk while we’re out, passing on the paille (that’s French for straw) is going to take practice.
I could launch into a research-fueled diatribe about why straws suck, but let’s just make it simple: the fewer single-use, disposable items in your life, the better. The environmental impact stretches for miles from extraction to production to disposal, and we use straws for mere minutes. And not using straws? It’s actually just a habit to get into. Here are a few easy changes to make:
1- Use reusable straws at home.
I’m a grown up, so I don’t need a straw in my beverages. But if it’s a smoothie, iced coffee, or freshly squeezed orange juice, then I definitely enjoy a straw.
2- Remember to ask your server to skip the straw when you’re at a restaurant.
This is the hardest part of the resolution for me. I may just stick to ordering wine, since wine doesn’t come with a straw. But seriously, if I now have the reflex to tell a cashier I don’t need a bag, I’m sure I can get into the habit of telling my server I don’t need a straw. Worst case, they forget. Best case, I save a straw. In British Columbia, more and more businesses are joining the #StrawsSuck movement!
3- Tote a reusable straw in your purse or diaper bag for your kids who suck at sipping from cartons and bottles.
Get yourself a drinking straw brush, it makes cleaning them a total breeze.
Just try to remember to wash your straws when you get home!
Where to buy reusable drinking straws:
You will find reusable straws in a variety of lengths and widths, straight and bent. My preference is stainless steel, but you’ll also see ones made of bamboo, acrylic, plastic and glass.
U-Konserve stainless steel straws come in a 2-pack for $13.48 at Well.ca
A 6-pack of bamboo straws, with a cleaning brush included, is $14.49 at Well.ca
A 4-pack of smoothie straws, with a cleaning brush included, is $14.33 at Life Without Plastic
An EcoJarz stainless steel straw is $3.20 at Maman Loup Sponsor, Gentle Nest (She also has GlassDharma straws and smoothie straws)
This Colibri Snack Bag, at 9 inches long, would be perfect for toting many styles of reusable straws! $8 at Gentle Nest