Due to the strong public interest in condemning single-use plastic straws since the Tak Nak Straw campaign, F&B chains were socially pressured to adopt a more green approach… though it often backfired.
The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf also switched to offering paper straws, but evidently someone in the purchasing department has never used it in a frappucino because it disintegrates almost immediately and tastes like paper.
This writer has had quite a lot of CBTL frapps ruined by their paper straws.
But how are you going to enjoy your teh ais without a straw now? How do you avoid all the melty diluted ice near the top? What are your alternatives?
We’ve broken it down for you:
Read below for a more in-depth breakdown that is absolutely not scientifically-backed and is entirely based upon this writer’s biases and preferences (which is frappucinos thanks).
ADDITIONAL NOTE: ALL reusable straws are meant to be CLEANED with a straw brush after use. You just need a bit of soap and warm water and vigorous scrubbing.
I mean if you still drink up some gunk from last week you literally have no one to blame but yourself.
Stainless steel straws
The most common kind. It’s metal, it’s in a straw shape, it comes in various shades of metal and chrome colors. They’re also the most durable, because you can drop it, chuck it, stick it in a dishwasher and it’ll be okay.
Badly made ones may have uneven surfaces or micro-scratches on the inside of the straw and hide gross stuff, but proper cleaning will ensure a non-gross drink.
Super eco-friendly and feeds into the whole rustic, old-school aesthetic.
Bamboo straws don’t make your drink weird, though if you do leave it in a strong-tasting drink like coffee for a long time, the bamboo tends to absorb some of that taste.
Giving it a good rinse in hot water will clear the bamboo straw of any unwanted strange tastes though.
If you are one of those people who can handle glass with no fear of it breaking in your hands, glass straws are your best bet.
They’re super aesthetic, they’re see-through for extra cleanliness points, and they often come printed or embellished with glass details.
Glass straws are made from tempered glass though the added chemicals mean that they aren’t recyclable. But that’s okay because you’re using the straw your whole life, right?
Ps. Keep away from children.
These are the absolute worst especially when used with thicker drinks like milkshakes and frappes. The straw loses all integrity rapidly and your frappucino will now be undrinkable and have broken-down bits of paper straw in it.
However, they are pretty and come in super cute colors if you are throwing a themed party. Just make sure all the drinks are small and everyone finishes them within 20 seconds.
Chic and durable. It’s all the good parts of the stainless steel straw with the added bonus of being entirely recyclable after. If you find your copper straw tasting a tad too metallic, you can give it a good rinse in hot water. (Don’t touch it immediately after!)
Copper straws are definitely an investment, as they’re one of the most expensive kind of straws out there.
I mean… the entire point of the ban is to reduce our plastic use. Still, reusable plastic straws are light and easy to carry around.
Watch out if you use your straws with hot beverages as bad quality reusable plastic straws may leech chemicals or microplastics into your drink. Kids often tend to prefer plastic straws over other materials too.
Lemongrass straws deserve their own introduction because they make
everything water taste 100x better. It adds a fantastic taste of holiday in an ice-cold sky juice and looks just as chic too!
However, you can only use it once and it has to be freshly prepared yourself when you buy the lemongrass. Great if you’re having a Bali-themed house party!
Straws made from biodegradable grains are relative newcomers to the industry and not technically reusable.
They are considered a more “eco-friendly” alternative to our common single-use plastic straws, but it’s still a “use-once-throw-away” kind of straw (same with paper straws!).
Biodegradable straws can be used by F&B outlets for customers who want straws and is a good starting point to introduce your friends and family to the concept of reusable straws.
The point of banning plastic straws is not so much of the straw itself. It’s a way for people experience eliminating plastic from our daily lives. Often, it’s rather easy and takes minuscule effort.
Most of us have never really given thought to where this trash goes and how much we generate in a day.
Your bubble tea or tapau food always comes with disposable plastic cups, plates, straws, and utensils. Yet our world is not in any way disposable, nor is our Earth’s resources.
Disposable single-use plastic is also not recyclable, so it sits in drains and landfills, leeching into the soil and distributing microplastics into our seas.
The hope is that by realizing how easy it is to remove this small piece of waste from our lives, we can expand the concept and eliminate even more waste.
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.