Plastic straws have been making litter around the planet since they entered the marketplace roughly 50 years ago. Literally (litterally) quadrillions of them out there in various stages of degradation - from fully intact plastic straws, all the way down to the tiny microplastics they become when sunlight + temperature + time take their toll. Plastic straws are consistently a "top ten" debris item collected on beaches, they aren't recycled, they cause harm to wildlife, and they're entirely unnecessary.
Wisdom To-Go Stow Bag! (stocked with 1 stainless steel straw + a bamboo fork, knife, and spoon)
To keep lint and dust on the outside of our clean straws, we sourced a small stow-bag for the zero waste items we most like to carry with us
Natural fabric - We don't want to put more synthetic (plastic) fabric into circulation - Not in our name
Black - Minimize fingerprints and smudges
9" x 4" - Fits at least a couple straws + some bamboo cutlery
Handmade for us in Brooklyn (thanks Esther!)
Obviously disposable plastic cutlery is a bummer, and no, "compostable" bioplastic cutlery isn't any better. Plant based plastics behave in the same hazardous way as regular plastic in marine environments, they don't "compost" in landfill (nothing composts in landfill - it's an anaerobic, toxic mess in there), and it junks up already massively challenged recycling systems.
For commercial composting facilities that do allow the inclusion of compostable cutlery/bioplastics, the resulting compost cannot be certified organic, and thus can't be used on organic food crops.
Glass Straws: Run them through the dishwasher in the cutlery section, or use a straw-brush to wash by hand.
Stainless Straws: Carry two in your bag, one for yourself, and one for a friend. Run them through the dishwasher, and put them back in the bag for next time. So easy.
Don't want to add to the waste stream?
Keep reusables with you (in your bag, backpack, or glove box). You can pull together a set from what you already have at home (best choice), hit the thrift stores (always fun), or source a new set from an awesome company.
For parties, rent stainless flatware, or if you feel you absolutely must have single-use, purchase truly compostable bamboo cutlery. You can find all sorts online, and you can even purchase in bulk and split it up with a friend (magnify the message).
When getting food delivered or to-go, emphasize what you don't need (straws, cutlery, napkins, soy/ketchup packets) and you'll keep these single use disposables out of the waste stream.
When ordering a drink in a restaurant, remember to say "No straw please!"
Inspiration to refuse disposables:
We're big fans of these three organizations - click logos to learn how each is addressing plastic straws