Do you toss your straw in the trash when you’re done with your drink? Many of us do, without thinking twice about it. But what if there was a more sustainable option? PLA straws are made from plant-based materials and are biodegradable and compostable. So when you’re finished with them, you can throw them in the compost bin instead of the trash can. That sounds like a better option, right? Read on to learn more about PLA straws and whether they’re really biodegradable and compostable.
What Are PLA Straws and What Are They Made Of?
If you’re interested in sustainability, you’ve probably heard of PLA straws. But what are they, and what are they made of? PLA stands for polylactic acid, a bioplastic made from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugar cane. In other words, PLA straws are eco-friendly straws that will degrade over time.
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The Benefits of PLA Straws
PLA straws offer several benefits over traditional plastic straws. For one, they’re completely biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about them ending up in a landfill or the ocean. They’re also reusable, so you can wash them and use them repeatedly. Plus, they don’t leave behind that pesky plastic taste that sometimes comes with traditional straws.
Another great thing about PLA straws is that they’re often made from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugar cane. This means that they have a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional plastic straws. And since they’re made from plants, they help to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!
Are There Any Downsides to PLA Straws?
PLA straws do have a few downsides. For one, they’re not as strong as traditional plastic straws, so you must be careful not to bite down too hard on them. They’re also more expensive than traditional plastic straws, so you might have to pay more upfront. However, the environmental benefits of using PLA straws outweigh the cost!
Related Link: What is PLA?
Are PLA Straws Really as Environmentally Friendly as People Think They Are?
Although PLA is technically biodegradable, that doesn’t mean it will break down under all circumstances. To degrade, PLA needs specific conditions—high temperatures and high moisture levels—. Most recycling facilities don’t provide those conditions, so PLA straws often end up in landfills where they’ll sit for years before breaking down.
Another problem with PLA is that it’s often mixed with other plastics to make it more durable, which makes it even harder to recycle. And even when PLA does break down, it releases methane gas—a greenhouse gas that’s even more harmful than carbon dioxide.
Related Link: Reduce, Reuse, Replace
The Environmental Impact of Using PLA Straws
So, what’s the verdict? Is PLA really better for the environment? The answer is complicated. On one hand, it does have some benefits over traditional plastics. However, those benefits are offset by its potential to release methane gas as it decomposes. For now, we recommend sticking to traditional recyclable plastics until a more sustainable option comes along.
There’s no easy answer when it comes to choosing eco-friendly straws. PLA straws have some benefits over traditional plastic straws but they also come with some significant drawbacks. If you do choose to use them, be sure to dispose of them properly. And if you’re looking for a truly sustainable option, your best bet is to forego straws altogether—at least until something better comes along!
Additional Alternatives to Using Disposable Straws
As awareness of the devastating effects of plastic pollution grows, more and more people are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on disposable plastic straws. Here are some great alternatives to using disposable straws that can help you do your part to protect the environment.
1. Reusable Metal Straws: Reusable metal straws are a great alternative to disposable plastic straws. They are durable, easy to clean, and can be used over and over again. Plus, they don’t add to the growing problem of plastic pollution.
2. Bamboo Straws: Bamboo straws are another great alternative to disposable plastic straws. They are made from a sustainable material that is biodegradable. Bamboo straws are also durable and easy to clean.
3. Glass Straws: Glass straws are a great alternative to disposable plastic or bamboo straws. They are made from a sustainable material that is recyclable. Glass straws are also durable and easy to clean. Plus, they look really cool!
PLA Straws vs. Plastic Straws
How do PLA Straws compare to other types of straws when it comes to biodegradability and compostability? Let’s take a closer look.
PLA straws are made from plant-based materials, such as cornstarch or sugar cane. They are 100% renewable and biodegradable, which means they will break down naturally over time. PLA straws are also compostable, which means they can be used as food for microorganisms that help break down organic matter.
In contrast, traditional plastic straws are made from petroleum products and are not biodegradable or compostable. This means that they will remain in the environment indefinitely, unless they are recycled. Even if they are recycled, plastic straws can only be downcycled into lower-quality products; they can never be reused to make new plastic straws.
When it comes to sustainability, PLA straws are a better option than traditional plastic straws. They are made from renewable resources, they biodegrade naturally over time, and they can be composted to help break down organic matter. So next time you’re looking for a more sustainable option, reach for PLA straws instead of plastic!
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Choosing to Use PLA Straws
PLA straws are a great eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic straws. They’re made from renewable resources, they’re biodegradable, and they help to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. So next time you need a drinking straw, reach for a PLA straw instead! Your wallet and the planet will thank you.
Related Link: Bamboo Fiber: Properties and How it’s Made