Plastic is one of the greatest threats to life on Earth, alongside issues such as climate change and overpopulation.
It’s not plastic itself that is causing this threat – it’s humans’ unshakable reliance on it. The world’s recycling system can no longer keep up, and there is a deep-rooted unwillingness for companies to pursue other packaging methods, which leads to a lack of accessible and affordable sustainable options for consumers. It’s a vicious cycle that likely won’t end without worldwide systemic change.
That being said, there are still things you as a consumer can do to combat plastic pollution. The biggest one being to reduce your plastic footprint!
There still aren’t nearly enough plastic free products on the market, but each year that number grows thanks to increased consumer awareness. We’ve now got tons more options when looking for plastic free alternatives, and some of them are even more affordable than traditional store-bought products! (which, believe me, I love)
So, if you’re looking to make even the tiniest bit of impact, switching to sustainable, zero waste products is one way to do it. This is especially true for single-use plastics, such as straws.
Now, having said that, finding a good plant-based straw can be difficult, to say the least. Most dissolve too quickly, leaving a nasty residue in your drinks, or are unnecessarily expensive. To make your life easier, I’ve put together a brief list of some of the best plant based straws out there. I hope it’ll make your search go a little smoother.
1. Corn-Starch Based Straws
The most common and readily available biodegradable straws are those made from cornstarch. It’s because it’s a cheap ingredient that gives straws a more plastic-like feel than alternatives.
Seriously, if you’re looking for a plant-based straw that is as close to plastic as you can get, cornstarch based straws are the ones to buy. If you gave a cornstarch based straw to an unsuspecting person and didn’t tell them it was cornstarch based, they’d absolutely think it’s a plastic straw.
This is the reason I recommend them so often. They function just as well as any plastic straw, and without some of the inconveniences that other materials cause. This makes them fitting for even the most wary people, and perfect for parties and get-togethers.
My favorite brand of cornstarch based straws is Plasticless. I like that they are bendy straws, they last all day (if not more), and I’ve never had them get soggy or leave residue in my drinks. My favorite thing about them though is that they have a 200 pack that is a great deal and much more affordable than other straws I’ve tried. I’m a proudly frugal person, so anyway I can save money is a big plus in my eyes.
2. Sugarcane Straws
Now, if you want something that acts like plastic but doesn’t necessarily look like it, sugarcane straws are the ones for you. They have zero taste, feel like plastic, and act like plastic.
I’ve had sugarcane straws last me days without becoming soggy. I wash and reuse them frequently, and leave them in my glasses of tea (both hot and cold) for hours straight with no sogginess or visible breakdown.
My favorite brand of sugarcane straws are Bionex, and I have nothing but good things to say about them. They work just as they should, don’t dissolve in any of my drinks, are biodegradable, and come in biodegrade cardboard packaging. What’s not to love?
3. Agave Fiber Straws
While I like and enjoy using all the straws I’ve mentioned above, I have a weak spot for agave straws because they’re super sustainable! They are made from agave fibers that are a byproduct of the production of tequila and agave syrup.
These fibers used to be considered agro-industrial waste, and would have been thrown in the trash if it weren’t for the movement to end plastic straws, which led to the birth of companies like BIO AGAVE who took this waste and turned it into something valuable. They get to profit off of something that would have been considered garbage, and we get more sustainable shopping options – it’s a win-win.
BIO AGAVE is the brand I buy my straws from. They’re one of the very few brands that make agave fiber straws, because it’s a relatively new niche. Their straws are long lasting like sugarcane and corn-based straws, they emulate plastic well, and they are actually my favorite straw on this list. I buy them most frequently, and 10/10 would recommend them.
4. Bamboo Straws
These straws are the only true reusable straw on this list. All the others are meant to be single use, so if you’re looking for one that will last you a long, long while, bamboo straws are the ones for you.
This set comes with twelve eight inch long reusable bamboo straws, a cleaning brush, and a travel pouch. The straws are dishwasher safe, 100% biodegradable, come in plastic free packaging, and are made by a brand that takes sustainability seriously.
ECO/EGO is a family-run business that donates 10% of all their profits to sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation. Their products are ethically sourced and manufactured, they make tons of other products such as bamboo tumblers and napkins, and they are honestly a great brand.
I also love how aesthetic the straws are. Because of the nature of bamboo, the straws come in a variation of colors, and they’re very pretty. I am a bit biased though, because I’m weak for bamboo furniture and decor!
5. Hay Straws
If you’re looking for something that’s minimally processed and a little more out of the ordinary, hay straws might be the ones for you. They are exactly what they sound like – literal straws of hay. They’re made of wheat stems that have been sorted and cut evenly, and then rinsed in sterile water three times to remove all debris and bacteria.
They’re 100% biodegradable, come in plastic free packaging, are gluten-free, and can be used in both cool and hot beverages.
I will say though that out of the 100 straws I get in my packs, there’s always a few duds that don’t work. They’ve got poor structural integrity that make them collapse when you try to sip from them, kind of like when you accidentally put a hole in a plastic straw and try to drink out of it.
There’s only a few of them though, so it’s not too big of a deal. If anything, it’s a direct result of how minimal their processing is. (which is a good thing!)
Those are all of my favorite plant based straws. I’m sure there are some great ones that I’ve yet to try, so if you think I’ve left one out feel free to let me know in the comments below!
Please note that this article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of them, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I 100% stand behind.
Hi, I’m Ash!
I’m a laid back traveler who loves experiencing new things and spontaneity. My favorite hobbies are hiking, gardening, skincare, and all things tea.
My biggest goal is to spread the word about sustainable travel and show everyone how easy it is to partake in. If you wanna learn more about that or get to know me better, feel free to click here.