Are biodegradable plastic straws better alternative to paper straws?

Ever since the plastic pollution’s outbreak, all countries and corporations have been trying to come up with new alternatives to reduce single-use items made from plastic. The idea that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic waste than fishes in the ocean is awful enough for scientists and companies to make necessary movements to create more eco-friendly products that are better for the environment and our own health. As you can see, the most conventional solution of these is paper straws, adopted by companies like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and American Airlines…

ống hút giấy được Starbucks sử dụng

But paper straw is becoming real controversial for its vital disadvantages in manufacturing and consumption process. Meanwhile, another type of material has stepped in the game: biodegradable plastic straws. Advertised as biodegradable, safe for our planet and human’s health while able to retain the flavor of your drinks. Do these new straws really meet up your expectations? Don’t worry, we’ve got you the answer.

The rise of paper straw, its benefits and disadvantages

Before the era of this plastic pollution hangover, the first modern drinking tube ever gained recognition around the world was actually paper straws, invented by a man named Marvin Stone in 1888. In the following decades, paper straws were embraced all across America, and after that, the whole world. They found their ways into sodas, milkshake, tea and coffee.

Ống hút giấy

But soon enough, plastic straws entered the market, and unprecedentedly became mass produced and consumed everywhere, releasing massive amount of waste into the oceans and landfills. Due to the public pressure in the recent years, companies and corporations have been bringing paper straws back in their systems, such as Starbucks, Marriott UK, Alaska Airlines, and the list still goes on.

Paper straws have some obvious benefits, that’s the fact. Being made out of natural cellulose paper, they’re compostable and biodegradable. Paper straws take approximately 30-60 days to break down into smaller pieces in the ocean.

However, only a small part of them are properly recycled, while thick and condensed paper used in some commercial facilities are not always recyclable. Furthermore, destroying the forests for some wood to produce straws is only going to create another environmental problem, isn’t it? One more minus point for paper straws is that they can disintegrate right when you’re enjoying your drink, becoming soggy and shattered which can makes your drink taste awful.

Ống hút giấy bị nhũn nước và mềm oặt. Khiến trải nghiệm đồ uống của bạn trở nên tồi tệ

Paper straws are for sale with the fair price of $5-10 per package.

    Pros

  • Easy, convenient and cheap
  • Colorful appearance
  • Compostable, recyclable
  • Low energy consumed
Cons

  • Easily get soggy and shattered in your drink
  • Still a single-use item
  • Destroying forests in production

 

Biodegradable plastic straws – A noticeable upgrade from the conventional plastic straws

The most important thing about biodegradable plastic straws is the material they’re made of: petroleum based plastics, with much more additional chemicals. These chemicals cause the plastic to integrate more rapidly in the air and light within the period of 2-5 years, which is way faster than conventional plastic (hundreds of years).

You may have heard about bioplastic, another type of biodegradable plastic made of plant biomass like corn starch, sugar cane and wheat that can be broken down naturally in suitable environment.

However, biodegradable plastic are not so easy to be disposed, since most of them are class as code 7, which is the category of plastic that isn’t accepted for recycling by local councils. This is why biodegradable plastic straws are usually not recycled, they often get around landfills and oceans, polluting soil, water and the living environment.

Despite those drawbacks being said, biodegradable plastic straws are still a significant shift from the conventional plastic ones that are starting to be banned all over the world. Biodegradable plastic straws are already for sale on the market for a while now, priced at $10-15 per package.

Customers review that they look and feel exactly the same as the ordinary plastic ones, but way more durable, stronger and sturdier than paper straws that won’t fall apart in your drinking cup. These are also dishwasher safe and comes with a cleaning brush in full set.

Pros

  • Retain your drink taste
  • Strong, sturdy and durable
  • Comes in many sizes and shapes
  • Dishwasher safe
Cons

  • Contain many chemicals
  • Rarely recyclable
  • Still plastic straws
  • Has negative effects on the environment

Paper straws and biodegradable plastic straws – Which one is better?

Let’s put these two on the scale and we’ll clearly see their 2 major differences from one another in order to decide which one is worth of your expectations.

ống hút nhựa phân hủy sinh học

First, their different performances in liquid are conspicuous. While biodegradable plastic straw is made to last, they make you feel completely convenient and easy while enjoying the taste of your drink. On the other hand, paper straws are sometimes very inconvenient as they fall apart, making your drink taste terrible and weird, this is a major minus point.

Second, on the environmental effects of each, paper straw have an advantage. Normally, paper straws take only 30-60 days to decompose into landfill, and even faster on the ocean’s surface. Biodegradable plastic straws, however, aren’t so easy. They take approximately 2-5 years, which is way longer, and they even release into the nearby environment the residue chemicals in disposal process. This might cause serious damage to marine creatures and human as well. So, hands up for paper straws.

In conclusion, it’s difficult to decide if biodegradable plastic straws or paper straws are better, since they both have some benefits and disadvantages. But for the long run, we should definitely chose paper straws. Because it may cost a bit more to produce paper straws, they’re less harmful to our planet. And environmental preservation, you can’t put a price on that.

Now, if you really care about the environment and want to join in the green material movement to protect yourself and our planet, check out some other truly 100% natural and biodegradable products from our website that meet up both high standard quality and positive effect on the environment like grass straws and rice straws right here on EQUO.

Sources:

https://www.foodfocus.co.za
https://www.iol.co.za
https://www.explainthatstuff.com

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