OK. Look. When you are a blogger covering any beat 24/7, there comes a time when your brain needs to stop providing analysis and context to news events and just write about something small and yet totally satisfyingly cool.
Which is why, dear readers, I am writing to you about my straw.
Well, it’s not just any straw; it’s my stainless steel straw, which is part of a four-pack of stainless steel straws that I use every. Single. Day. It’s dumb, but I actually love my little metallic sipping cylinder.
For some self-indulgent context: rather than a hot coffee, I drink iced tea every morning. Preferably PG Tips with a splash of soy milk. For some reason, the whole experience is better with a straw, as drinking it straight out of a glass just feels weird to me for some inexplicably dumb reason.
It was also totally dumb that I used a single-use straw for as long as I did. Plastic straws have quickly become public enemy No. 1 and persona non grata at Starbucks, Hyatt, the whole city of Seattle and a whole host of other places.
This is good news, because Starbucks alone was pumping one billion plastic straws into our world every year. Plastic straws are part of a bigger plastic problem that, if we don’t do something about it, could lead to there being more plastic than fish (by weight) in the ocean by 2050.
The problem with giving up plastic straws, as with so many things in our modern world, is their convenience. It’s so easy to pop one into the top of your cold brew or frappé without any hassle. Plus, the alternatives aren’t always great. As my colleague, Catherine Lamb, recently wrote:
“Paper straws can get soggy quickly. And biodegradable straws made of wheat or bamboo can cost 5-6 times more than straws made of regular plastic. Which means they might fly for fancier coffee shops and cafés, but it might take a while for fast food chains who are ordering millions and millions of straws per week to roll them out in huge numbers.”
It’s true that at scale, there aren’t a ton of great options at this very moment. But on a more micro level, in your home, you can make the switch for less than ten bucks — and I highly recommend it. I picked up a pack of the Sipwell Stainless Steel drinking straws on Amazon for $6.98. They are dishwasher safe and even come with their own cleaning brush.
It’s weird to say that a straw works great, but the Sipwells do. Because they are metal, the straws turn cold when dunked in my morning iced tea, which is a small detail, but a nice one. And I’m so used to them that getting a disposable one when I’m out feels wrong. (Though I haven’t started carrying around a metal one around with me in a tiny case. Yet.)
There are other options as well. The aforementioned Catherine Lamb prefers glass ones as her go-to for reusable sipping. While those are pricier, they are definitely prettier.
I’ve read people on Twitter complain about how there are so many legitimate problems in the world, and we are focusing too much attention on how we slurp our sodas. But I think that’s almost the point. In a world where there are so many big problems that are beyond our control, changing the style of our straw is something we actually can do. Immediately. And if everyone makes this small change, it can actually have big results.
And big results when it comes to reducing waste is news I definitely want to cover.