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Drinks Sustainability

Straw Stars: A Straw Alternative Power Ranking

Last week, Foodbeast’s lead TikTokker/editor-in-chief Elie Ayrouth posted a video of an enormous, 1-pound bag of boba milk tea. Why exactly this product exists, I do not know. But, what I do know is that one of my favorite reactions to the video was a comment that asked him not about the boba, but about the environmental ethics behind his consumption of said gluttonous bag of tea. More specifically, the plastic straw he used was in question. 

Now, I’m all for not using plastic. You’re talking to the person who used to force his coffeeshop coworkers to use glass cups with no straws while at work. But, if you see a bag of boba big enough to give someone a concussion should a fight come its way, and the first thing you think of is how wasteful the straw usage is, you might be on a path towards being overkill. 

Anyways, as the Foodbeast editorial team sat in our meeting room and discussed this comment during our weekly meeting, we started to wonder: what ARE the best straw alternatives? Besides coming to a communal agreement that paper straws would be better off staying a tree, the results were varied. But, after much deliberation, here we have it, a power ranking of straws:

10. Biodegradable Plastic Straws

Photo by: Christopher on Pexels

Ideally, biodegradable plastic straws would be the answer to all our problems, and would make this list irrelevant. But, like anything that sounds too good to be true, it is. These types of straws are only biodegradable in certain, commercial compost facilities, meaning you have to dispose of them in a way that definitely doesn’t include tossing it away with your iced coffee before you enter work, a fate similar to that of most of our straws.

9. Pasta Straws

Photo by: Pixabay on Plexels

Pasta straws are indeed highly functional, but they’re still single use and are ruined after an hour’s time. Pass. 

8. Silicone Straws

Photo by: frank mckenna on Unsplash

Silicone straws are flexible, easy to clean, and heavily reusable. The only problem is most lend a distinct taste to any drink they’re served in. No flavor compliments everything you drink quite like an undertone of rubber, right?

7. Paper Straws

Photo by: Vlad Chețan on Pexels

Personally, I have no qualms with most paper straws. In my experience, most paper straws take over an hour until they start becoming flimsy. But, alas, it seems as if the general consensus is that paper straws become soaked and useless after a couple minutes in liquid and have a weird “lip feel.”

6. Hay Straws

Photo by: Pixabay on Pexels

Surprisingly, straws are named after straw. Like, the stuff in hay bales. More surprisingly, there are companies selling straw straws. From my research, it seems as if they work well, too. The issue is that it’s difficult to produce a consistent product, as each stalk of straw grows to a different diameter. Until these are able to be mass produced, they’ll stay in the middle of the pack (hay bale, if you will).

5. No Straw

Photo by: Daria Shevtsova on Pexels

This would be higher up if it wasn’t for the active lifestyle that most people live. For sitting down at a meal, or kicking it at a coffee shop, no straw is the best straw. But, the moment you have to take a drink to go, choosing to go no straw turns your commute into a perilous mission.

4. Glass Straws

Photo by: Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

By all means, glass straws work great. Easy to clean, cheap, and essentially acting as an additional part to the glass you’re drinking out of, glass straws are amongst the best straw alternative options. But, while many glass straws are indeed tough, the off chance that a glass straw shatters in your bag, backpack, or drink brings it’s ranking down.

3. Sippy Lid

Photo by: Daria Shevtsova on Pexels

It’s like no straw, but with some protection from the elements. The only issue is that some people don’t feel right drinking things without a straw, apparently. For me, this is not an issue. But, hey, if you absolutely need a straw, who am I to judge?

2. Bamboo Straws

Photo by: Artem Beliaikin on Pexels

Sustainable, economical, smooth on the lips, and resistant to soaking, bamboo straws are about as good as it gets. The only downside is that they do eventually wear out, which brings them down to second on our list. But, on the bright side, it’s a stick. You can properly dispose of these straws by simply tossing it in the dirt. 

1. Stainless Steel Straw

Photo by: Louise Burton on Unsplash

There’s really no downside to stainless steel straws. They’re hard to break, easily cleaned, not too expensive, and some come with silicone tips to give an improved lip feel. If you’re going to use a straw alternative (you should), this is the Foodbeast approved answer.

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News Now Trending

Pause The Plastic Straw Bans, The Disabled Community Still Needs Them

With all the talk of plastic drinking straws being banned from major fast food establishments such as Starbucks and McDonald’s, there seems to be a demographic that has been lost in all this.

The disabled community isn’t totally on board with the straw bans, as straws are a helpful tool for those who may not be physically able to drink something comfortably otherwise.

Disability Rights Washington wrote a letter to the Seattle City Council, making sure the voices of those with disabilities, were heard.

One of the key points in the letter was, “Many people with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis require the use of plastic straws in order to hydrate. Other types of straws simply do not offer the combination of strength, flexibility, and safety that plastic straws do.”

These were initial concerns upon Seattle passing the plastic straw ban, as the importance of plastic straws to the disabled, seemed to be lost.

Advocates for the disabled have also taken to Twitter to voice their concerns, arguing that plastic straw alternatives are inefficient, and even harmful.

Imani Barbarin posted a photo showing all the plastic straw alternatives, and each seem to have a flaw that is detrimental to the disabled community, whether it be a choking hazard, injury risk, unable to be positioned, or even terrible in high temperatures.

It probably didn’t help environmentally-conscious advocates that Dune Ives, who helped push the Seattle ban, basically said that the straws themselves aren’t the big problem, and the ban mostly serves as a conscious reminder of how much we rely on single-use plastic.

With valid concerns, the current straw bans actually aren’t as strict as one might think.

In Seattle, where the entire city has banned the regular use of plastic straws, restaurants are still required to carry some to give customers upon request.

The law states that the ban will not apply for:

“Disposable flexible plastic drinking straws when needed by customers due to medical or physical conditions and for whom flexible compostable paper straws are unsuitable. Otherwise, straws must be compostable or designed to be reusable.”

So at least Seattle, one of the first U.S. cities to run this type of plastic utensil ban, made sure that those with medical disabilities have access to flexible, adjustable straws.

Just last week, Starbucks made the big announcement that they’d eliminate the use of plastic straws by 2020, instead using compostable straws and/or straw-less lids.

With the concerns raised by disability rights advocates, Starbucks addressed the issue in a statement, saying:

“Starbucks offers, and will continue to offer straws to customers who need or request them in our stores. Starbucks recent announcement about straws will not impact the ability of those who need straws to access them. We take an inclusive design approach to all packaging to ensure that all customers will be able to enjoy their Starbucks beverages.”

In the statement, Starbucks did not specifically say that it would keep plastic, disabled-friendly straws, drawing concern that they did not fully comprehend that compostable straws were not the answer, but it did sound like they are keeping the concerned community in mind.

We’ll have to wait and see how far all these plastic straw bans go, but thankfully there are people fighting for disabled rights, and making sure that even large corporations like Starbucks take note.

Categories
Culture Fast Food Features Hit-Or-Miss

Starbucks Now Has Sippy Cups, And You Might Never Need A Plastic Straw Again

I don’t often order Nitro Cold Brews from Starbucks, and regulars are probably now used to this sippy cup lid that was introduced back in 2017, but it tripped me the hell out.

Instead of the standard lid that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from Starbucks cold drinks, the Nitro Cold Brews come with a lid that has a hole on the top edge, similar to a wide-mouth can of Mountain Dew.

I asked the barista what was up with the sippy cup, and she explained to me that it is primarily for customers to enjoy the foam that tops their Nitro drinks, such as the new Cold Foam Cascara Nitro I had ordered that day.

Then she hit me with a curveball, saying I can actually ask for the sippy cup on any of my cold drinks, and to not be surprised to see it be the new norm, as restaurant industries are always looking for ways to phase out plastic straws.

The usage of plastic drinking straws seem to be a big deal at the moment, and I learned this firsthand after posting an Instagram photo of a split cup boba adorned with not one, but two straws in it. Six of my friends promptly scolded me for the unnecessary straw usage, and reminded me that I was destroying the earth.

Probably the biggest sign that restaurants are leaning toward phasing out plastic straws, is the fact that ALL McDonald’s in the UK will be replacing its plastic straws with paper ones.

Yup, the Golden Arches made a huge statement, affecting over 1,300 stores in the European nation. That means the new norm for anyone living in England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland, will be paper straws.

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Hell, just this morning, Alaska Airlines announced it will be eliminating its plastic stirring sticks and drinking straws, replacing them with compostable versions.

It’s obviously not something we think of when we’re sipping on our cup of Coke, but in the U.S., we use about 500 million straws a day.

The next thing that comes to mind after hearing that stat, is the middle school recycling slide show, with the poor seagull getting its head stuck in an old school six-pack holder, or the turtle with the straw stuck in its bloodied nostril.

These sippy cup lids will be an interesting case study for Starbucks, though, as they add the value of a specific mouth-feel, similar to the one you get when sipping on your hot drink, beyond the positive environmental impact they’re trying to make.

Hell, I now ask for the sippy cup on my non-Nitro, Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. It makes me feel fancy AF, and now I don’t have to worry about friends yelling at me about straws.

Whether we like it or not, it looks like a change is coming. We might as well get used to losing our plastic straws, just like we had to get used to losing our plastic grocery bags. If it means one less cute ass sea otter chokes on my waste, it’s worth it.

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Video

9 Ridiculous Straw Sips We’re All Guilty Of

straw-sips-questionable

How do you sip from your straw? Straight on? Barely touching?

When the act of sucking is not being frowned upon, most of us who suck straws fall into pretty familiar categories. Some of us may sip from the side of our mouths, while others may sip head on and chew on the tip ’till it’s not recognizable (bruh).

Recognize any of the following positions from the video?

——–

Categories
News

Date Rape Drug-Detecting Cups to Debut at Bars, Colleges and Clubs

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Remember these? Cups/straws/glasses/stirrers started by Mike Abramson’s start-up, DrinkSavvy? Good news, ladies and gents! Mike and DrinkSavvy made it big. That’s right, they’re rolling out the corporate red carpet to sell color changing cups and straws, which react in the presence of three commonly used date-rape drugs: GHB, ketamine, and rohypnol. The Indiegogo campaign we covered late last year hit their $50,000 goal and are using funds to ship plastic cups and straws to rape crisis centers, as well as participating bars, colleges, and night clubs. And they hope to start marketing their products to the public some time next year.

While it’s undoubtedly tragic that a product like this is necessary, it’s undoubtedly amazing that the campaign was successful. Take that, creepy party peeps.

H/T NY Post

Categories
Packaged Food

Bloody Mary Beef Jerky Straw

What’s better than a tall cold glass of bloody mary?  7.75 inches of 100% meat to suck it up with, that’s what!

There’s nothing better than a good hearty snack to keep you partying hard all night long. And the best part is, after the drink is gone there’s a bloody mary infused meat stick to look forward to if nothing else. ($24/ 3 packs of 10 @ Amazon)

[Thx IncredibleThings]

Categories
Products

Turn Your Fruit Into a Juice Box With the ‘Gurefuru Chuchu’

Ready to get your juicing habits up? Takara Tomy has come up with a fun way to enjoy fresh fruit juice straight from the fruit itself. The Gurefuru Chuchu product utilizes a “lead” to open up a little hole in your fruit and then you insert the themed character into the top of the fruit, twist him around for a minute or so to churn up the insides, and then take out and use a straw to slurp up the residue.

The product description poses this as both a perfect product for kids and adults alike. Kids may think its fun, and adults can splash some alcohol in the open hole and come up with a pretty fresh fruit cocktail. Here are a few more images, capped with an all too long, yet amusing commercial for the product:

[$38 @ JapanTrendShop]

Categories
Packaged Food

Magic Milk Straws

 

Milk is great. Cereal, definitely needs a bit of moisture. Chocolate milk, even better. When it comes to plain milk, it takes a special breed to enjoy it straight up, and let’s face it, most of us aren’t included in that breed. That’s where these Magic Milk Straws come into play. The straws are lined with different flavors that work to change the flavor of regular milk in an all natural fashion. No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives are in any of the straws, and they are gluten free, lactose free, fat free, cholesterol free and low in sugar.

The 48-count package comes with 8 different flavors: Chocolate, Strawberry, Cookies & Cream, Vanilla Milkshake, Strawberry Banana, Wild Berry, Orange Cream and Banana. ($14.99 @ ThinkGeek)