Are biodegradable edible straws better than plastic ones?
Need a quick answer? Yes, they are! Our biodegradable edible straws are much, much better than plastic straws. In fact, edible straws are even better than most other eco-friendly straws – reusable or disposable. We wrote an article in the past discussing why sugar straws are better than plastic ones, but in this article, we want to discuss our edible, non-flavored straws.
We’ll first look at why they’re better than plastic straws, and then why they’re better than other eco-friendly straws, which makes them come out on top of the pile.
Plastic straws are the worst
Plastic straws are tiny little things, but they create so many environmental problems. Their manufacture uses up non-renewable resources and creates pollution. They’re single-use and added to the fact that they’re made of plastic, they add to our waste problem. They’re small, sure, but the numbers add up as millions of people continue to use them every day for years.
There are other problems, too. Plastic disintegrates into microplastics, and these are inhaled or swallowed by our marine creatures, they litter our beaches, and they create problems for humankind. Plastic in the landfills leaches toxic chemicals into the surrounding soil, and into our groundwater supply. When plastic is incinerated for disposal, it creates toxic fumes and ash, which is extremely harmful.
Reusable straws are better
Reusable straws remove one problem altogether – that of single-use plastics piling up in our landfill. It’s in the name. However, there are many other ways in which they’re better than their plastic counterparts:
1.Some are biodegradable
Some of them, like bamboo straws, are fully biodegradable. Others, made of metal and glass, are recyclable. Either way they’re a step ahead of single-use plastic straws. However, since not all of them are biodegradable, that’s another good reason why you should opt for our biodegradable edible straws!
2.Smaller carbon footprint
If you use a disposable plastic straw every day for a year, that’s 365 straws. Now, most reusable straws will last much longer than that with good care, but let’s assume they only last a year. Even if so, they have a much smaller carbon footprint, because the materials and energy required to make one straws (of glass, metal, bamboo or hard plastic) is nowhere close to what’s required to make 350+ units.
3.You feel good
When you make a conscious decision to make a switch to something eco-friendly, you feel better. You have a higher opinion of yourself, and you feel more at ease, knowing you’re doing your part in some ways. That’s a good feeling!
These were some of the benefits of reusable straws, but we also want to mention disposable straws real quick – ones made of hay, sugar and paper, for instance. They’re biodegradable, easy to use, and excellent for parties, where you don’t want to spend an hour cleaning 25 straws once your guests have left. They’re also a lot more affordable for those who don’t use straws much – you can get a bundle of paper straws for very little, and if it lasts you a year, that’s a total win!
They aren’t the best, though!
There are some problems with eco-friendly straws. The phenomenon may come under the general umbrella of greenwashing – the brands tell you the good, but don’t always tell you the bad side of their products, thus misleading you and leading you away from making a more eco-friendly choice. Our biodegradable edible straws are great for this reason – we’re open about them. They won’t last very long in super hot drinks, and we want you to know that fact!
Here are some reasons why some common ‘eco-friendly’ straws aren’t as good as you may have believed:
1.Almost all of them are non-biodegradable
With the exception of reusable bamboo straws, all others are non-biodegradable (although they may or may not be recyclable). So, unless you make the effort to recycle your tiny little straw, once you discard it, it’ll end up straight in the landfill – where it’ll lie for decades, or centuries. If they make their way out to the ocean, they can seriously hurt our marine wildlife.
2.Some use plastic
Whether it’s the packaging or the product itself, many reusable straws use plastic. You’ll find hard plastic or silicone ones that are great because they can be reused and washed easily, but they still use virgin plastic – so natural resources are being used for their creation, and when you wash them, there’s a chance of them shedding microplastics.
3.Cleaning is a hassle
You’d think cleaning a straw would be easy when you’ve got an especially designed cleaner, but you’ll change your mind very quickly! Straws are long and narrow, which isn’t an ideal shape if you want to clean the interior thoroughly. You need to keep a straw cleaner handy, and if you drink a thick milkshake and let the remnants dry for a little while, you’ll have a hard time getting them off your brand-new Loliware straws!
4.Substantial carbon footprint
So, we mentioned in the previous section that their carbon footprint is lower. However, it still isn’t the lowest it can get. Metal, glass and plastics need a lot of energy to work with, and then packaging and shipping these products uses up energy too! You need an industrial process to produce these – whereas hay and edible straws can pretty much be made by hand.
Greenwashing is a term we don’t like to use generally, because it’s kind of…unfair. Think of the ‘it’s not a bug, it’s a feature’ meme, for instance. Something that’s intended as a positive may be a negative for some people (like the uncomfortable feeling of metal under your teeth – that’s what happens when you want something super sturdy – the only thing sturdier than metal is rock, probably).
However, let’s face it – most brands just don’t like to mention the negative aspects of their product. It’s not necessarily greenwashing – it’s just being cautious, we feel. And it’s our duty to provide information they may have omitted, because we want to inform and educate our readers on all sorts of subjects. Make a conscious, informed decision!
We saved the best for the last – our biodegradable edible straws!
As you can guess from the title, these are fully biodegradable. Meaning, once they’re tossed out into the landfill, ocean or even your compost pile, they’ll quickly rot down and become one with the Earth. This is something we really value in a product, because we think the solution to our waste problem isn’t recycling. It uses resources, it produces an inferior material (unless you’re working with glass or metal), and finding a buyer can prove difficult.
The Flewid Friendly straws have a lot going for them, even apart from the biodegradability aspect. Let’s look at some things that make our product awesome (if we do say so ourselves):
1.They serve two purposes
Whether you use them both ways in one use or individually is up to you, but our straws can be used as regular straws, and as noodles! This is what makes them so fabulous – once you’re done using them, you can just wash them and add them to your next meal. Or if you’ve had a pack lying at home for a while and you realize you don’t really use straws all that much, you can just cook them instead!
2.They’re safe for everyone
Metal, glass and hard plastic straws can hurt marine animals, but our straws pose no such risk. They’ll be history by the time they reach our marine wildlife. At home, too – they’re safe for kids, adults, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and once you cook them, you can give them to your kids, your pets, or even the local birds! Unlike other edible straws made of sugar or candy, these contain no problematic ingredients, so you can eat away!
One issue most people have with single-use eco-friendly straws is that they’re flimsy. Well, in order for them to be edible or biodegradable, they kinda have to be a little bit flimsy. But not our straws. We came up with the idea of rice straws and looked at it through every conceivable angle, and the science checks out – it’s the perfect product, basically!
…Well, it’s perfect comparatively, anyway. It’s hard to make something that has no downsides for anyone, but we think we got pretty darn close to it. However, our biodegradable edible straws do have some downsides – and it’s important that you know about these before you make your purchase. Let’s go over the key ones we’ve found:
- They have a limited shelf life. Since they’re food, you can’t store (or use) them forever – not even in theory.
- Since they’re food, they do come encased in plastic for hygiene reasons. We don’t want the product coming in contact with dirt or water before it reaches you, so the straws are in a plastic sheath that you’ll need to discard once you’ve finished the pack.
- They need to be rinsed before cooking for best results. It’s not quite the same as painstakingly scrubbing out a metal straw using a cleaner, but it’s still not perfect.
- They aren’t ideal for restaurants or parties if you’re trying to be thrifty. Unfortunately, it looks like plastic straws are still the cheapest option, with paper coming in second. But wait! Here’s another great reason why our straws are wonderful. For every pack you purchase from us, we plant a tree through Seed The Change. So if you use a pack a month and buy 12 packs every year, that means you helped plant twelve trees in just one year!