Plastic straws, it has been a hot topic for quite a long time! However, it has a huge consequence for our planet. With the modern lifestyle, we are compelled to use plastic products in every facet of our life. Sadly, they significantly contribute towards the health problems for humans and animals. Their manufacturing skips the economical risk appraisal process. Luckily, there has been Global call for the best PLA straw as a solution to not only plastic use but also towards the health of our Earth!
They are 100% compostable and biodegradable products; thus, are easily recycled. With increased popularity, you can find a variety of biodegradable products available in the market! It includes cornstarch products, PLA products, Bagasse products and what not!
So, hoteliers get ready to be acquainted with the best eco-friendly straw!
Table of Contents
- What Is A PLA Straw?
- Pros and Cons of PLA Straw
- How Do You Dispose of Biodegradable Straws?
- Final Thoughts
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Is A PLA Straw?
PLA straw is a type of plant-based plastic that is gaining popularity nowadays. Since they are made of natural-occurring materials, this plastic promotion highlights greener options for a better future. They also claim to be biodegradable and compost friendly compared to traditional straws that use plastics as the main component.
As a result, there is a noticeable increase in the demand for this alternative straw to replace plastics, especially in the food business. Besides the two components mentioned earlier, eco-friendly straws are also manufactured from other natural ingredients.
1. What Are Eco Straws Made Of?
Unlike plastic straws made of propylene, polylactic acid is the material for producing PLA straws. It is a widely available bioplastic you can easily find in the market. The process of making these straws is through the fermentation of starch from several carbohydrate source crops.
Furthermore, cornstarch and sugarcane are most commonly used because of their abundance. Some manufacturers even use algae. But it will cost a lot! In addition, other eco-straws are generally made of bamboo, paper, cassava starch, and many more.
2. Are Plant-based Straws Safe?
There is a debate about whether they are safe or not. Some companies claim they are completely safe, proven by testing and certification from the relevant authorities. However, we found a study that showed otherwise. The subjects include PLA, rice flour, and reeds-based products.
It examined contamination of PFA (poly-fluoroalkyl substances) from plant-based and paper straws. These chemical compounds are difficult to degrade in the environment and hazardous to the health of animals and humans. Some of the adverse effects in humans are a high risk of high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.
Of the 38 brands, 23 of them contain PFA. The chemical will dissolve in your drink, especially when sipping hot beverages.
3. How Long Does It Take for PLA Straws to Decompose?
You may want to find the best PLA straw to ditch your plastics only if you have composting facilities. If not, we recommend thinking twice. Little did we know that nature takes 100-1000 years to decompose naturally.
Well, it is similar to the time it takes for plastic to degrade. And thinking the worst, your PLA straw may travel around to find its way to the ocean if you throw it in the dustbin. Of course, it is detrimental to the environment. Therefore, it is much better to compost and bury them in the ground to prevent further damage to our planet earth.
Pros and Cons of PLA Straw
Apart from PLA straws, bamboo, paper, cocktail straws and stainless steel straws are other eco-friendly straws available. The reusable straws are undoubtedly considered unhygienic! And hence, PLA straws are the best alternative to it! They are clear and feel exactly the same as plastic straws. However, before obtaining PLA straws, let us understand their perks.
1. The Advantages of PLA Straw
Despite the pros and cons behind the using of these straws, there are countless benefits offered by PLA biodegradable straws. First and foremost is that they are made of natural resources! In addition to being 100% compostable, they require 68% fewer fossil fuels to produce! As a consequence, they become a more sustainable choice over plastics.
With its sturdy manufacturing, these hygienic straws are best suitable to sip drinks well. Though sanitation and utility is same as the plastic straw, yet it degrades at a much faster rate. In our opinion, the key is to be a wise consumer. Don’t overuse the straws if you can drink it straight from your cup or glass. Remember, our planet is now suffering!
2. The Disadvantages of PLA Staw
After diving deep into the advantages of the best PLA straws, let us discuss the ill effects of using these straws. Sadly, they are not the best bet to start a sustainable lifestyle. While the manufacturers brag about compostable features, degradation takes a long time.
Moreover, no control is possible for the consumers. We argue that most of them will just throw the straws away in the bin, thinking they can degrade like plants in the soil. In fact, the PLA straw they send to the landfill will end up in the floating waste disposal, the ocean.
Furthermore, those that are failed to decompose will release more methane. So, from this point of view, they may not be the ideal choice to replace your plastic straws.
How Do You Dispose of Biodegradable Straws?
Sending the PLA straws to the landfill doesn’t solve the problem. They will end up staying there, finding a way to escape to the nearest water sources and pollute them. Hence, instead of dumping them into the garbage, it is wise to turn them into something more useful. One of the practical and simple ways to add benefits to your biodegradable straws is composting.
You can cut them into pieces to facilitate the process of decomposing and throw them into your compost bin. But please make sure to remove all non-degradable materials, like plastics, steel, or others that may attach to the straws. Despite not contributing to adding more nutrients to the compost, at least you don’t add waste that cannot be recycled properly.
2. Covering with soil
Another alternative to composting is covering the straws with soil. It is the easiest way to help reduce waste pollution. Simply peel off any plastic linings and bury them in the ground. Even though it takes 100-1000 years to decompose, it’ll be worth the wait knowing your straws won’t end up in the sea.
3. Recycling or Creating DIY Projects
Lastly, look for the nearest recycling facilities. Find one that handles PLA materials, as they can’t be recycled with other plant-based products. Or, explore your creativity by doing a DIY project using the PLA straws. Some people can make recycled shopping bags, home decor, and even planters out of these straws.
PLA straw is a one-go to move on from plastic straws with some notes: you are willing to put extra effort into composting them or find the facilities that can do it. Otherwise, our experts don’t advise you to buy them as they will be as harmful as plastic ones.
If you love the planet, you really need to think about everything in detail, including how the products are treated after you throw them away. The time is now! Get up and initiate to save mother Earth!
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the most eco-friendly straw?
Bamboo and paper straws are by far the most eco-friendly, biodegradable products as plastic alternative heros. They are made of natural products, which are basically trees, that are guaranteed safe. But our experts prefer bamboo straws as they regenerate and grow faster than trees. Thus, ensuring sustainable production.
Is PLA safe for drinking water?
PLA straws are generally safe to drink water. With proper care, they can last for a year. On the other hand, some reports mentioned that these straws must not be used in hot beverages as the chemicals are feared to be dissolved into drinks. Nonetheless, this concern is addressed to those printed PLA straws. Hence, buying plain ones is better to avoid such health issues.
Are plant-based straws safe?
Unfortunately, plant-based straws are not as safe as we thought. There is a high risk of PFA (poly-fluoroalkyl) contamination when they are used for hot beverages. This chemical substance exposes detrimental effects on humans and animals. Some examples are increasing cholesterol, decreasing vaccine response in children, and slightly reduced infant weight.
Are PLA straws really better for the environment?
If you intend to compost the used PLA straws, you are on track to save the environment. Unfortunately, most cases are quite the opposite. These straws generally dump into landfill without any proper treatment. Or worse, end up in the ocean and pollute our precious marine life. And so, they are no better than plastic straws.
Another problem is these straws are not easy to recycle as other plant-based products due to their low melting point. Thus, they often become a problem in the recycling facility.