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12 Best Reusable Straws That Are Better for the Earth

Ditch the plastic and opt for reusable straws that are as good for your pocketbook as they are for the planet.

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Collection of Plastic Free Drinking Straws in Wood TrayMirageC/Getty Images

Sips and sustainability

Plastic straws have become a real problem for the environment, filling up landfills and polluting oceans, where they kill marine life and release chemicals that are also toxic to people. It’s time to give up single-use plastics. Fortunately, as companies go green, putting their focus on products geared toward sustainable living, there are more options than ever for great reusable straws. Not only will they help save the planet, but like the best reusable coffee cups, eco-friendly water bottles, and eco-friendly tote bags, they’ll also help save you money.

How we chose the best reusable straws

To find the best reusable straws, we read hundreds of reviews, asked experts for their opinions, and tried many of them ourselves. Best of all, we chose the best reusable straws in a variety of materials and price points, so there is something to fit everyone’s needs.

Reusable Metal Straws Arranged in a RowMirageC/Getty Images

What are reusable straws?

What makes a straw reusable is the fact that it can be used over and over again, unlike single-use plastics that are used for a few minutes and then thrown away. Most reusable straws are made of either stainless steel, bamboo, glass, or silicone. Although only bamboo is biodegradable, all the other materials can be reused for many years, lowering your consumption and your carbon footprint.

Reusable straws are a safe alternative to sip-and-toss straws. They’re made of food-grade materials, and many come with a brush for easy cleaning. Of course, they’re not for every situation. You wouldn’t want to sip from a glass straw while running (you really shouldn’t run with any straw in your mouth) or drink hot liquids through stainless steel. Still, they won’t have you wondering whether it’s recyclable—and being disappointed by the answer.

Why you should switch to reusable straws

Americans use an estimated 500 million plastic straws each day, according to nonprofit recycling organization Eco-Cycle. That’s an astonishing number for something that can cause so much damage to the environment.

For starters, they’re made from fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases. And they pollute at every stage of the process.

“There are several problems with plastic straws,” says Betty Ball, cofounder of Skip the Plastic Norwalk, a grassroots environmental organization in Norwalk, Connecticut. “They’re not recyclable, because they jam recycling equipment. As litter, animals and marine life mistake them for food. What’s more, it takes hundreds of years for plastic straws to decompose in landfills or water, and when they do, they break down into microplastics, which have been found in the air, our food—everywhere! So they never really go away because there is no ‘away.'”

Not only do reusable straws conserve natural resources and minimize pollution and waste, but Ball says they’re also less expensive in the long run.

As they’re doing with styrofoam, many cities and states are starting to take action against plastic straws, although regulations can vary greatly from county to county. “I’m not sure if there’s a central database that’s up to date,” says Ball. “I think Seattle was the first city to make plastic straws available upon request only. New Jersey and Vermont have similar ordinances in place: upon request only. In Connecticut, there are a number of municipalities that have plastic straw ordinances—Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, Hamden, Groton, and Stonington—which essentially state that no food establishment is allowed to provide, distribute, or display a single-use plastic straw unless requested by the customer.”

How do you carry reusable straws?

Many reusable straws conveniently come with their own case, but if they don’t, you can always wrap them in a napkin or dishcloth to keep them secure. You don’t want to carry them in a plastic bag (hello, greenhouse gas emissions), which would defeat the purpose of helping the environment.

How do you clean reusable straws?

Many reusable straws come with their own cleaning brush, but Ball says pipe cleaners and even dental floss can work just as well. “Boiling metal, glass, or silicone in hot water effectively cleans reusable straws,” she says. “But make sure they cool down. You can also rinse them after each use or put them in the dishwasher. Check the instructions to make sure you’re cleaning them effectively.”

Be especially careful to thoroughly clean stainless-steel straws, which can harbor food particles and get moldy.

Different types of reusable straws

Reusable straws can be made from a variety of materials. The best one for you really comes down to personal preference. “People with sensitive teeth may prefer silicone or bamboo over, say, stainless steel,” explains Ball. “Try the one you think will be the most enjoyable experience for you and take it from there.”

We asked Ball about the pros and cons of the most popular types of reusable straws. Keep reading to get her take on these climate-friendly tools.

Materials

Glass

Pros:

  • Long lasting
  • Transparent, so you can see when it’s dirty
  • Neutral taste

Con:

Silicone

Pros:

  • Long lasting
  • Dishwasher safe and easy to clean
  • Can be used with hot or cold beverages

Con:

  • Not as easy to recycle

Stainless steel

Pros:

  • Long lasting
  • Sturdy
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Travel friendly

Cons:

  • Sensitive to both hot and cold temperatures
  • Possible metallic taste

Bamboo

Pros:

  • Made from a fast-growing, renewable resource
  • Biodegradable
  • Lightweight yet sturdy

Cons:

  • Slightly woody taste
  • More difficult to clean than other materials

Finalstraw Collapsible Reusable Metal Straw Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best overall reusable straws

FinalStraw Reusable Metal Straw

This eco-friendly straw from the aptly named FinalStraw checks all the boxes: It’s easy to use, easy to clean, easy to take anywhere, and easy on the environment. Collapsible into its own travel case, the stainless steel straw comes with silicone tips and a cleaning tool and is available in ten colors. As the original reusable, collapsible straw, it raised almost $2 million on Kickstarter in 2018 and has, so far, kept 300 million single-use straws out of landfills and the ocean. It’s proof that living a life without plastic is possible with small changes.

Pros:

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes with a cleaning tool
  • Comes with a travel case

Con:

  • Some reviewers say it can be tricky to clean

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Softly Silicone Straws Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best silicone straws

Softy Straws Silicone Straws

If you’re looking for standard-size silicone straws to replace the plastic ones you’re used to, this Amazon’s Choice product is your best bet. “I am so excited to find a straw that I can use on any kind of cup and that feels closer to a regular straw than the big metal ones,” writes one five-star reviewer. “These are tall enough to fit in a 20-ounce cup yet slim and flexible enough that they can easily fit through narrow cup openings.” Plus, the package comes with five different color straws and a squeegee for easy cleaning.

Pros:

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes with a straw squeegee for cleaning

Con:

  • No carrying case

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Sipwell Stainless Steel Drinking Straws Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best stainless steel straws

SipWell Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

With more than 11,000 five-star reviews, these stainless steel straws are, according to one reviewer, “hands-down the best reusable straws I have ever come across.” They come in a set of four and are rustproof and scratchproof. Plus, they’re easy to clean in your dishwasher (use an eco-friendly cleaning product when you run a load!) or with the included cleaning brush. “It’s interesting that what was initially bought on a whim has actually turned into a necessity,” says another reviewer, adding, “These metal straws are perfect.”

Pros:

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes with a cleaning brush

Con:

  • Not intended for smoothies

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Glass Straws Clear Drinking Straws Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best glass straws

JimJim Clear Glass Straws

This set features four shatter-resistant glass straws, two straight and two bent, that can be used safely for both cold and hot beverages. The more than 2,000 five-star reviews rave about the pure taste of drinking through glass straws, with many reviewers happily surprised to find that the straws seem to make their cold drinks even colder. You’ll never go back to plastic—unless you’re picking up one of these eco-friendly products made from recycled ocean plastics.

Pros:

  • Includes both straight and bent straws
  • Comes with a cleaning brush
  • Lifetime guarantee

Con:

  • No carrying case

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Reusable Bamboo Drinking Straws Ecomm Via Amazon.comvia merchant

Best bamboo straws

Bambaw Reusable Bamboo Drinking Straws

Handcrafted in Bali, these eco-friendly bamboo straws are natural, biodegradable, and compostable, so they’ll never end up polluting the environment. They come in a set of six in a reusable travel pouch and are even sturdy enough to use as a stirrer. More than 930 reviewers give them five stars, with one reviewer writing, “As a scientist who is invested in the environment, I could not recommend these enough. I take them everywhere with me so I always have a straw. They are easy to clean and a well-made product.”

Pros:

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Comes with a cleaning brush

Con:

  • Some reviewers say they’re a little too biodegradable and tend to split over time

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Wide Single Glass Straw Ecomm Via Simplystraws.comvia merchant

Best reusable straws for smoothies

Simply Straws Wide Single Glass Straw

Thick beverages like smoothies and milkshakes require bigger, wider straws like these. Available in eight colors, the glass straws look sophisticated and serve as conversation pieces in and of themselves. “I love it!” writes one reviewer. “Not only are folks saving the environment, but it’s stylish [and] cool, and people will always ask, ‘Where did you get your straw from?'” On top of that, Simply Straws is a certified women-owned business and a member of 1 Percent for the Planet.

Pros:

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Can be personalized
  • Lifetime guarantee

Con:

  • Glass is breakable

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Strawexpert 16 Pack Black Reusable Metal Straws Rainbow Tip Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best reusable straws on Amazon

StrawExpert Reusable Metal Straws with Silicone Tips

Amazon’s number one best-selling reusable straw has received more than 35,800 five-star reviews—and no wonder! Not only is this 16-pack a steal, but it also includes a carrying case and cleaning brush to make your life easier. The stainless steel straws are available in a variety of metallic finishes and are topped with silicone tips in eight different colors, so members of the family can claim their own. Using one is a good first step in easing your climate anxiety.

Pros:

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Comes with a cleaning brush

Con:

  • Some reviewers say the silicone tips can come off in your mouth

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Gosili Reusable Standard Silicone Straw Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best travel straws

GoSili Reusable Silicone Straw and Travel Case

Made of European-grade silicone, GoSili straws are sustainable, recyclable, stain resistant, hypoallergenic, and free from BPS, phthalate, PVC, and lead. They’re also easy to toss in your bag or the glove compartment of your eco-friendly car, thanks to the cute little travel tins they can be easily folded into.

Pros:

  • Straw folds into its own travel tin
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Translucent, so you can see when it needs to be cleaned

Con:

  • May be too short for larger tumblers

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Screen Shot 2022 05 20 At 11via merchant

Best splurge reusable straws

Lastra Metallic Nesting Straws

This beautiful set of nesting straws comes complete with everything you need in a compact case that’s easy to take anywhere. You get three different sizes of stainless steel straws—they store one inside the other, like nesting dolls—as well as a cleaning brush, all in your choice of five sophisticated metallic finishes.

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Comes with a cleaning brush
  • Dishwasher safe

Con:

  • A little pricier

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Ozark Trail Stainless Steel Straw With Cleaning Brush Ecomm Via Walmartvia merchant

Best budget reusable straws

Ozark Trail Stainless Steel Straws with Cleaning Brush

This best-selling value-priced pack makes it easy to protect the environment while enjoying the drink of your choice. It comes with four straws made of high-grade stainless steel topped with silicone, plus its own cleaning brush. “Love these,” writes one reviewer. “It has a great mouthfeel, unlike other stainless or even paper straws. Beverages taste great using these silicone-tipped stainless steel straws, and I feel great doing my small part to prevent plastics waste.”

Pros:

  • Low price
  • Comes with a cleaning brush
  • Lifetime warranty

Con:

  • No carrying case

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Teivio 12 Pack Reusable Short Stainless Steel Drink Straws Ecomm Via Amazonvia merchant

Best reusable cocktail straws

Teivio Extra-Short Reusable Stainless Steel Straws for Cocktails

At a petite five inches long, these pretty little straws turn any occasion into a party. Just right for cocktail glasses, they’re available in silver, gold, or multicolor and are an Amazon’s Choice product, boasting almost 1,000 five-star reviews. They come in a package of 12, with one reviewer calling them “the best purchase I have made to date,” adding, “I use them every day. My wife loves them. They feel nice, sturdy, and look quite attractive. They fit perfectly in mini mason jars and coffee mugs.”

Pros:

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes with a cleaning brush
  • Comes with a carrying bag

Con:

  • You’ll still need to buy other straws for your everyday drinks

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Pasta Life Pasta Straws Eco Friendly Gluten Free Ecomm Via Walmartvia merchant

Best edible straws

Pasta Life Gluten-Free Pasta Straws

Pasta straws may sound like a novelty, but they’re actually a great eco-friendly option. Not only are they 100 percent biodegradable, but they’re made from rice flour, tapioca starch, and plant-based ingredients that can actually be eaten if you like your pasta very al dente. This is a fun way to do something good for the planet. And speaking of food, these are the sustainable restaurants working to reduce their carbon footprints.

Pros:

  • Biodegradable
  • Compostable
  • Edible

Con:

  • Meant for cold beverages only

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Cans with carbonated citrus beverage and reusable metal straws.Transparent tins with fizzy pop drink. Two jar with lemonade, on the green background.Evgeniya Pavlova/Getty Images

Environmental impacts

If you’re concerned about climate change and want to learn more about how to protect our natural resources when you shop, read our articles on eco-friendly brands and sustainable product shipping and packaging to help you make the best choices for the environment.

Sources:

Lois Alter Mark
Lois is an award-winning lifestyle, shopping, travel, and entertainment writer who covers everything from the best consumer products to the best cleaning and organizing tips for RD.com. Her writing has taken her around the world and introduced her to new people, new food, and her favorite new sport, pickleball.