Disposable plastic straws are one of the biggest contributors to our current plastic problem. They break down into little pieces, all of which either contaminate our groundwater, or float around in the ocean, affecting wildlife in horrendous ways and disrupting the ecological balance. If you’ve been trying to find a good alternative that doesn’t hurt the environment, sugar straws might just be it.
As a producer of edible straws, Flewid Friendly has a lot of knowledge about plastic straw alternatives, since we’ve done our research on the subject. So, in this blog we want to take you over sugar straws – what they are, how they’re used, their advantages and disadvantages, and some of their alternatives.
What are sugar straws?
There are two products that are usually called sugar straws. The first refers to straws made with fondant, candy, or other sugary substances. These straws are great for using in drinks, and once you’re done with your drink you can eat the straw like candy.
The second variety is a straw made using sugarcane pulp. These aren’t edible, but they can be composted. Sugarcane fibers are waste material, so repurposing them as straws makes use of something that’d otherwise go to waste. Once you’re done using the straw, you just throw it away or toss it onto your compost heap.
For the purposes of this article, we will refer to the first variety as sugar straws.
Reasons why sugar straws are great
There are lots of reasons why sugar straws are great – which is why people choose them! Let’s go over some of their benefits:
Candy is tasty, and so are sugar straws. Whatever they’re made with, if you like sugary candy, you’ll probably like these. It’s nice to eat one after a drink; it’s sort of like a mini-dessert.
Unlike metal, glass and bamboo straws, sugar straws are quite affordable. They cost a little more than candy, and for the utility they provide, it’s a great price. You can buy packs of 10, 20 or 30 straws for just a couple dollars. (Pssst – you can also buy our straws for just a couple dollars!)
You can throw them away
There’s something undeniably convenient about a use-and-throw product. It’s nice to know that once you’re done using the straw, you can just toss it into the bin without any regrets. The sugar will slowly decompose, and won’t hurt any animals – although if one eats it, it might make them slightly hyperactive for a while!
You don’t have to clean them
Unlike reusable straws, you don’t have to bother about cleaning sugar straws. As mentioned earlier, you can throw them away, or you can eat them. No need to bring a wet straw back home in a wet bag, or to wash the straw with a little straw cleaner in the restaurant bathroom.
They don’t hurt the environment
Sugar straws are made using mostly natural products, so they’re sustainable, and don’t have an immense footprint. Thrown in the garbage, they’ll find their way to a landfill where they’ll rot down in a little while.
So these were some of the advantages of using sugar straws. However, at Flewid Friendly, we think they could use some improvement – which is why we went in a different direction! So now, let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages sugar straws have.
Reasons why sugar straws are not-so-great
While they have a lot going for them, sugar straws are far from perfect. Let’s take a look at some of the more obvious downsides of using them:
They’re made of sugar
Sugar isn’t very good for you – it has a lot of calories, it contributes to body fat, and it can lead to heart and liver disease. If you’re trying to eat healthy, getting sugar straws isn’t the right move to make. While these may be eco-friendly, they certainly aren’t waistline-friendly. Try our pasta straws instead – you’ll love them!
They aren’t healthy for your pets
Since they’re made of sugar, they aren’t healthy for your pets. In fact, they may not be safe for them, either. Sugar can lead to obesity in dogs, an insulin release (and potential liver failure) in cats, tummy trouble in rabbits, and serious health problems in birds. A bit of unflavored pasta is a much healthier snack for your pet – no matter the species.
Ants will find them
If you try composting your sugar straws, you’ll find that ants love them – which is obvious, since they’re made of sugar. So unless you’re okay with ants swarming over your compost heap (and potentially getting inside your house), you’ll be left with two options – eating them, and throwing them away.
They can flavor your drink
It’s sugar – it will slowly dissolve in drinks (especially hot ones), and sweeten them. If the straw is flavored, it may impart some of its taste to the drink, and potentially ruin it. You don’t want your iced tea tasting like strawberry, for example.
You may not like the taste
Sugar straws are candy, and candy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so to speak. Unlike our pasta straws, which can be used as noodles in a meal, you can only eat sugar straws as candy, and you might find, after eating a couple, that you don’t like them very much after all. Now you’re stuck with a bunch of them, and don’t know what to do with them.
These are some reasons why Flewid Friendly’s edible straws are better than sugar straws. They’re safe for you and your pet, they’re totally compostable, they taste like nothing, and they won’t flavor your drink. They do go soggy after a while (especially in hot drinks), but they last long enough to not make that problematic. They’ll be cooked right as you’re done with your drink, and getting ready to toss your pup a treat.
A look at other eco-friendly straws
While sugar straws are eco-friendly, there are many other options that are, too. Let’s go over some of them, and see what their pros and cons are. If you decide sugar straws aren’t for you, our mini-guide here might help you choose the best option for you.
There are other edible straws, of which pasta straws are one option. They can be eaten after you finish your drink, but unlike sugar straws, you can compost them without any trouble. We recommend choosing non-flavored straws over flavored ones so you aren’t stuck with a flavor that you dislike. Most rice straws are healthy for you (or your pet), and if you prefer, you can just give them a quick rinse and toss them into your next meal.
Metal straws can be reused for years. That’s great if you’re willing to wash and reuse them, but for some, that’s exactly the problem. Having to carry a dirty straw home from your local café isn’t the most pleasant prospect. Another problem with metal straws is that they’re very hard, and can clash against your teeth, which feels uncomfortable. Hot drinks make them hot. We’d say sugar straws and metal ones are roughly even, in terms of pros and cons.
Glass straws look gorgeous, and they are arguably the most user-friendly reusable option. They don’t feel uncomfortable against your teeth, and while you do have to clean them, they’re easier to clean because of the nature of glass, and because it’s transparent, so you can see every little speck of dirt. The only major downside is that with glass, you have to be careful not to break it. Carrying one in your purse may feel risky, especially if you tend to be careless with your belongings.
Made from the stems of the bamboo plant, these are really eco-friendly. They look great, feel great, and last for years. They’re easy to clean, although some people find bamboo absorbs certain flavors. If you want a reusable straw that has no major downsides, go for bamboo. You can get these easily, they’re affordable, and they don’t get hot, shatter, or click painfully against your teeth. If you have sensitive teeth, go for these!
These are single-use straws that are still eco-friendly. They’re made with paper, which is completely biodegradable. Using paper straws is easy – just use them in your drink like normal, and when you’re done, throw them into the trash. Some of these get soggy rather quickly, but others have a waxy coating on the inside that keeps them from absorbing liquids and becoming unusable. If you’re a business owner, these might be the answer to your problems!
This was our guide on sugar straws. We hope you found it helpful. If you’re in any doubt about which eco-friendly straws to buy, consider giving ours a try. Our edible straws are made with rice flour, cassava flour, and, of course, with love! Go through our blog to find out more about our pasta straws.