Student’s Corner

Single-Use Straw Alternatives

When did you last use a straw? What was it made out of? 

I received my first metal straw at the Post Landfill Action Network’s Students for Zero Waste Conference last October in Philadelphia and have fallen in love with it. 

I was originally not open to the idea of surrendering single-use straws because I was used to the convenience. However, I actually found having a straw in my bag made it easier and faster for me to pick up an iced coffee before I head to class since I didn’t have to stop to take the paper off my plastic straw that would eventually end up in a landfill. 

I think the first question we should all consider before even thinking about the various straw alternatives is: do you really need a straw? Enjoying your drink straight from the cup doesn’t seem so bad, especially when you reduce your carbon footprint by doing so. 

If you do wish to use a straw, there are various types on the market to consider:

  • Bamboo: Bamboo grows very quickly and is very sustainable. Once your straw is deemed unusable, the bamboo can compost within a few months.
  • Glass: These are great because they are usually dishwasher safe. You can find some with unique bends and colors.
  • Stainless Steel: These look great for fancy drinks!
  • Foldable: On the go? No problem! Foldable straws can easily pop into your bag. 
  • Silicone: These are a sustainable option for your kiddos who tend to chew on straws. Plus, they come in tons of fun colors.
  • Paper: Although these may not be reusable, they are a great alternative for coffee shops to offer to their customers.

No matter what type of straw you choose, remember that every decision makes a difference. Once you have your new straws, try using them at one of our coffee shops on campus. The Starbucks in Wilson Commons has recently been renovated and will be open for the school year. 


Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022

Photo Credits: SAVEUR