Common Questions About Paper Straws
Why should I swap to paper straws?
Environmental concerns have begun to shift public opinion towards the use of paper straws and away from single-use plastics. The prevalence of single-use plastics is filling the ocean with plastic waste that will take hundreds of years to break down. Studies estimate there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by the year 2050, and this ecological shift could irreparably damage our oceans and the marine life that live in them. Plastic straws are only part of the problem, but many people and environmental organizations have identified single-use plastic straws as a good place individuals can make a difference.
Some governmental bodies are considering – or have already started – enacting bans or regulations to discourage single-use plastic straws. Establishments that want to get ahead of the curve are looking into switching before it becomes a requirement. More than that, though, environmentally conscious owners are moving to reduce their own unnecessary plastic waste. Paper replacements biodegrade quickly and leave no harmful environmental footprint. Consider switching to paper and implementing a straws-upon-request policy to reduce waste and cut down on costs.
What is a straws-upon-request policy?
In order to offset possible cost increases that might come with paper straws, many establishments are offering straws to customers only at a specific request. This results in lower total straw usage and enables restaurants to offer only paper versions, removing plastic straws from the ecosystem. Restaurants such as the Eastern Standard in Boston have implemented straws-upon-request policies without any problems. Owners report that customers are happy to be able to contribute to solving this problem by either using a paper straw or forgoing a straw altogether. Some customers are wary of paper forms because they assume that paper will dissolve in liquid – which it will, but not in the course of a regular meal. Consider a paper straws bulk purchase to offset the costs of switching.
Will paper versions dissolve in drinks?
Owners and customers alike have questions about the functionality of paper drinking straws. If they're designed to be biodegradable, what's to stop them degrading in the drink? Manufacturers of these paper versions are aware of this problem and have designed their products around it. Paper drinking straws are coated in an eco-friendly wax to prevent liquid from deteriorating the material. They are usually rated to last around four hours before beginning to get soggy, which is far longer than any customer should need a single straw.
Can I use these straws in hot drinks?
Paper drinking straws cannot be used in hot drinks. Heat will degrade the wax protecting the straws too quickly, and it will lose its structural integrity before the drink is finished. Customers generally do not expect a straw with a hot drink anyways, so this is usually not an issue.
Are they really biodegradable?
Yes. Paper-based straws will fully degrade back into their organic components, while plastic straws remain in the environment for hundreds of years. A paper straws bulk order is one of the simplest and most effective ways a restaurant can reduce its plastic waste output. Changing away from single-use plastics won't fix the problem on its own, but every step gets us closer to protecting the environment.