July 02, 2022 4 min read
Plastic has proven to be a long-lasting solution across various consumables and products, especially their packaging. Due to its positioning as an integral part of the modern world, its use is rising with each passing year, despite its damaging impact on the environment.
But on the flip side, more and more people are becoming aware of the issue and turning to more eco-friendly alternatives. One such solution that stands out, in particular, is bamboo straws. One of the primary challenges to the ubiquity of plastics, bamboo straws are also gaining popularity at a fast rate. So much so that many people have called bamboo straws a symbol of eco-friendliness and saving the planet.
Diners, cafes, and coffee shops around the world are increasingly adopting them as viable solutions as plastic bans pick up pace around the world in a bid to promote eco-friendly products such as bamboo.
Plastic straws are one of the most popular plastic derivatives around the world, so much so that in the US alone, around 500 million straws are used each day, and over 8 billion of them pollute beaches worldwide.
Due to the alarming numbers alone, it has always been more likely that significant amounts of plastic straws will end up in some of the other water bodies. Since plastics are non-biodegradable by nature, they can wreak havoc in more than one way. Here’s how:
Threat to the aquatic ecosystem:The lightweight and portable nature of plastic straws ensure that one way or another, they will end up in some kind of water body, disrupting marine ecosystems.
Loss of biodiversity: The disruption of marine ecosystems doesn’t stop there. Plastic straws break into microplastics and release chemicals that lead to millions of marine deaths each year.
Garbage problem: Whatever part of such straws doesn’t land up in water bodies ends up being scattered everywhere from urban areas to beaches, increasing the garbage problem.
High energy needs for production:Producing these plastic straws is a very tedious and highly energy-intensive process, most of which comes from non-renewable sources, making it stand against the ethos of sustainability.
With all these problems presented to the masses and questions like “what is the alternative?” People have started to look for options. As of now, bamboo straws seem to be the poster child of this revolutionary change. Let’s understand why.
Bamboo straws are made up of the bamboo plant, the most sustainable plant species one can find on the planet. Due to its high structural strength and rigidity, it has been found to be highly versatile. Even in the current day, there is a wide variety of bamboo-based products being manufactured and sold globally, bamboo straws being one of the primary examples.
Bamboo has higher structural strength than steel and is completely biodegradable, being an organic product. The best part is that bamboo straws will never cause any ecosystem disruptions like single-use plastic straws, let alone the death of marine life. But that’s not even the most critical aspect!
Since it has been proven that bamboo straws are eco-friendly products, let’s move on to a quick study of this miracle alternative's environmental impact.
The most important aspect of bamboo straws and many other bamboo-based products is that they are totally reusable, which adds more to their sustainability appeal. Even if you do not wish to reuse them, all you need to do is to throw them away in a compost bin, and they will only increase their eco-friendliness even long after they have served their purpose. If you are still stuck on the question “Can you reuse bamboo straws?” The most straightforward answer is a big fat YES!
Bamboo straws are completely reusable and are 100% safe to reuse. A bamboo straw would not last as long as a metal alternative, but you can find many more crafty ways to reuse them once you have reused them as a straw, and did we tell you that plastics never decompose!
Bamboo straws are also made like any other commonplace item through a long manufacturing process. This process includes steps to ensure that these are safe to use for humans. Bamboo is first cleaned using steam and pressure wash processes.
The life of a bamboo straw begins at a bamboo plantation. Farmers find fully matured trees, and then their stalks are cut out to be transported to the farm, where they are left sun-dried. Once the drying off is done, these are shipped to manufacturing units for further processing.
The stems are then further cut down to straw lengths and are then sent off for sanding and filing, which leads to the final product that has a smooth finish and is ready to be cleaned. The straws then undergo the final and rigorous cleaning process, which includes pressure washing and steam cleaning. Once the entire process is completed, you see the final product in the form of golden-yellow straws.
Bamboo straws are a unique offering in themselves, and a strong contender in the straw game against the plastic options, due to so many benefits and practically 0 downside. Yes, there are various alternatives, such as wheat, metal, and glass straws, but they come with their own set of issues that render their production unscalable. Hence, when it comes to eco-friendly products in the straw space, bamboo straws are the world’s best bet in the fight against the plastic menace.