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8 best reusable straws for more sustainable sipping

Ditch single-use plastics and invest in one of these eco-friendly accessories

Emily Goddard
Friday 25 May 2018 10:34
<p>There’s a range of options –  silicone, glass, steel, bamboo – but which one really performs?</p>

There’s a range of options – silicone, glass, steel, bamboo – but which one really performs?

If you are among the millions of people who have seen that devastating video of a sea turtle wincing in excruciating pain as a 12cm straw is pulled from its bloody nose – you’ll know the video if you watched it, it’s not something that’s easy to forget – it is likely you abandoned single-use plastic straws long ago. In fact, it’s possible you shunned them even before it became illegal to sell or supply them in England from October 2020, because the upsetting turtle footage emerged in 2015.

Before the ban, a horrifying 8.5 billion plastic straws were used each year in the UK – an average of 130 straws per citizen and the highest consumption of any European country. That vast number of straws equated to 3,570 tonnes of plastic waste each year and, perhaps most alarmingly, most of these straws were made from polypropylene, which takes up to 200 years to decompose.

Order a drink in a bar or coffee shop today and you’ll most probably be handed a paper straw. While not as sinister to the planet and marine life if collected and recycled, they don’t always perform as well as other straws. We’ve all had a frappé we’ve struggled to drink halfway through because the straw has disappointingly collapsed.

The best solution is undoubtedly a straw that can be reused time and time again. And there sure are plenty of options, with silicone, glass, steel, bamboo, straight, bendy and flexible types – even ones you can eat – among those available. But which is the best?

How we tested

We tried a range of straws to bring you this round-up, which we hope will help you decide on the perfect sipping tool for you. We tested each straw for mouthfeel, portability, ease of cleaning and the materials used in its manufacture. Never face a mouthful of mushed-up paper with your smoothie again.

Read more:

The best reusable straws for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Handibac handistraw: £3.50, Handibac.com
  • Best metal straws – Typhoon set of four steel bent straws: £4.50, Typhoonhousewares.com
  • Best edible straws – Stroodles pasta straws, pack of 40: £6.45, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best glass straws – ProCook life’s a beach six glass straws: £5, Procook.co.uk
  • Best bamboo straws – Typhoon set of eight bamboo straight straws: £9, Typhoonhousewares.com
  • Best cocktail straws – Wild and Stone pack of six steel rainbow cocktail drinking straws: £9.95, Wildandstone.com
  • Best portable straw – The Last Straw reusable straw and case: £12, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for kids – We Might Be Tiny bendie straws, pack of five: £9, Kidly.co.uk

Handibac handistraw

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

The key to reducing your impact on the planet by switching to a reusable straw is picking one that you can take everywhere with you and will want to use with all your drinks. This flexible silicone number is as portable as they come, with its own compact tin that fits perfectly into your pocket or bag. Whip it out wherever you are and whatever you’re drinking, and then fold it up into its tin until next time. The black straw and case look stylish, and it feels comfortable to drink from, allowing everything from juices to frozen smoothies to pass through with ease. It doesn’t come with its own cleaning brush but it is dishwasher safe.

Typhoon set of four steel bent straws

Best: Metal straws

Rating: 9/10

Stainless steel is incredibly strong and durable, so these straws will last a lifetime. Good job, too, because you’ll want to use them frequently. The tip is nicely rounded and smooth, making for a fantastic mouthfeel, and stainless steel can be cleaned thoroughly with the cleaning brush included, so they are a super-hygienic choice. We particularly liked drinking cold drinks with these 20cm straws but were wary of tackling hot drinks with them for fear of the straw heating up too much. However, they’re fine for drinking coffee when you’re sure the liquid has reached a safe temperature. We were also impressed with the packaging of these straws because it is made from recyclable cardboard.

Stroodles pasta straws, pack of 40

Best: Edible straws

Rating: 7/10

No jokes, these are 100 per cent natural, edible straws. They’re made entirely from durum wheat semolina and water – better known as pasta – and are vegan, too. They’re designed for use with cold drinks, so don’t attempt to drink your tea with these or you’ll struggle to sip through a floppy straw. Whatever you’re drinking, you’ve got an hour to finish it before the pasta starts to soften, which is plenty of time. We enjoyed drinking juice through these and there was no hint of pasta flavour. They’re also adaptable because, although they’re 20cm long, they can be cut to make them shorter for cocktails. Once your drinks are done, you can save the straws and use them in a recipe. No sweat if you don’t fancy eating them though because they’re totally biodegradable; just dispose of them in your food waste bin. These are a fun novelty that adults and children alike find fascinating but they make no joke of helping to tackle a serious waste problem.

ProCook life’s a beach set of six glass straws

Best: Glass straws

Rating: 9/10

There’s something really quite satisfying about sipping through these tough glass 21cm straws. They are seriously smooth, making them remarkably comfortable to drink from – the best we tested – and the elegant, angled design looks stylish. They come with their own cleaning brush and are easy to get squeaky clean. However, we’d be reluctant to carry them around with us in case of breakages, so they are best for use at home. We love that they’re fully recyclable at the end of their life and that 10 per cent of profits from every sale goes to the Life’s a Beach charity, which helps clear British beaches of single-use plastics. These straws are also excellent value for money at under £1 each.

Typhoon set of eight bamboo straight straws

Best: Bamboo straws

Rating: 7/10

These straws are entirely natural and each one is unique. For example, some are wider than others, giving you options depending on what you’re drinking. They are durable, holding their shape with any liquid, and we’re more than happy to take these out with us – not least because they look a little fancy and exotic. Bamboo is fast-growing, so classed as a sustainable material and they’re biodegradable at the end of their life for a truly environmentally-friendly drinking tool.

Wild and Stone pack of six steel rainbow cocktail drinking straws

Best: Cocktail straws

Rating: 8/10

Most reusable straws are about 20cm in length, making them too long for cocktail glasses. That’s where these little rainbow beauties come in. They measure a dainty 12.5cm and are narrower than the other straws in this round-up, making them perfect for your cosmos and white Russians. Made from food-grade stainless steel, they’re a hygienic choice and come with a cleaning brush, although they can be cleaned in the dishwasher, too. They also have their own organic cotton carry pouch and are perfect for taking on a night out to hand out among your friends.

The Last Straw reusable straw and case

Best: Portable straw

Rating: 7/10

Attach this straw’s case to your keyring and you’ll never have to worry about being caught short without a straw again – it looks pretty cool too. The telescopic model is the Mary Poppins bag of straws and it grows to 19cm when fully extended. The stainless-steel design is hygienic and pleasant to drink from, and it comes with a short cleaning brush – although we prefer using our own full-size brush to give the entire length a proper scrub. The only downside for us is the price. It is by far the most expensive reusable straw we tried.

We Might Be Tiny bendie straws, pack of five

Best: For kids

Rating: 9/10

Straws are ideal when your child is transitioning to drinking from an open cup from a beaker spout. They can also help prevent spills, so finding a kid-friendly option is a must. These cute, colourful 20cm straws are perfect for little ones and they’re wide enough for all drinks. The angled design makes drinking easy and they are soft and flexible, as well as kind to and comfortable for delicate little lips. They come with their own cleaning brush but can be popped in the dishwasher for a thorough hot wash. Plus, the adults in your home will enjoy drinking from these straws as much as the kids.

The verdict: Reusable straws

Handibac’s handistraw ticks all the boxes for us, so it was an easy top pick. We like how it feels in the mouth and that it can be taken everywhere for consistent use every day. The ProCook life’s a beach glass straws get a special mention for how comfortable they are to drink from and the charity donation, while the Wild and Stone cocktail straws are a brilliant specialist buy for cocktail lovers.

Voucher codes

For the latest discounts on eco-friendly swaps and home accessories, try the link below:

Make more sustainable swaps with our pick of the best reusable bags

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