Plastic Free July

Take a Plastic Challenge

Choose to Refuse Single-Use Plastic Straws

Plastic-Free July is a global movement that encourages people to reduce their use of single-use plastic waste throughout the month of July and beyond. Over 120 million people in 177 countries have been inspired to participate, and Edible Santa Barbara wants to encourage you to take a Plastic Challenge and to help you find great alternatives to plastic this summer that will hopefully become new habits forever.

Throughout July, we’ll bring you tips and ideas for how you can reduce plastic waste—everything from plastic bags, plastic wrap, packaging, takeaway coffee cups, bottled water, straws, produce bags and other single-use plastic packaging.

We will start off with one of the easiest plastic items to refuse—the plastic straw.

Straws

In 2019 California became the first state to ban restaurants from automatically giving out plastic straws. And close to home, the City of Santa Barbara adopted a ban that includes dine-in and take-out, effective July 1, 2019.

Kudos to all the restaurants and businesses who are helping eliminate the mindless consumption of plastic straws. Most of the time people don’t miss having a straw plopped in every beverage they order. And for the disabled community or for times when a straw really does come in handy, thankfully there are alternatives. Disposable and compostable straws come in paper and other compostable materials. Reusable straws in silicone, metal and glass are durable, functional and often stylish.

As part of your plastic challenge, make a pledge to refuse a plastic straw and if/when you need a straw, choose a plastic alternative.

If you really need a disposable straw, try the ones from Aardvark. They make cocktail straws, jumbo straws, flexible straws, giant straws and straws for bubble tea. They even make custom straws. They are safe, durable, environmentally friendly and made in the USA. They also happen to be colorful and stylish. Order large quantities on their website, or go here for a list of retailers.

Another disposable option is Hay! Straws. Yes, they are made from hay, aka straw. Think about it, why is a straw called a ‘straw’? Possibly because before plastic and even before paper, disposable straws were made from straw. The modern day Hay! Straw is made from a byproduct of wheat production, minimally processed, hygienic and easily composted.

Another option for restaurants or businesses is Harvest Straws, part of the Tehachapi Heritage Grain Project—whose aim is to preserve and grow heritage organic grains which are naturally drought tolerant—right here in Southern California.

Reusable straws come in glass, stainless steel, bamboo and silicone.

One of our favorite glass straws (and one we highlighted in Edible Santa Barbara in Summer 2011) are the ones made by Glass Dharma. They have many sizes and styles to choose from and are made from borosilicate glass, making them lead-free, very durable and resistant to thermal shock. A basic ice tea glass straw is $7.99; more decorative straws start at $9.99. They also sell sets and accessories such as cleaning brushes and carrying sleeves.

Endurance makes a line of 18/8 medical grade stainless steel drink and smoothie straws. Stainless steel is durable and completely recyclable. You can find sets of 4 for around $10 at household supply stores and many online sites, such as lunchville.com.

Another option is a straw made from real whole bamboo stalks. They are washable and reusable and are $2.95 each at websites such as LifeWithoutPlastic.com (a great resource for other plastic-free items).

What is reusable, non-toxic, sustainable and flexible? These silicone straws by GoSili. Silicone is a man-made material derived from rock, sand or quartz. It’s unbreakable, lightweight, microwavable and dishwasher safe. Their straws come in a variety of sizes, and they also have straw cases and toppers.


How often do you use a straw? Do you have a favorite reusable or plastic-free disposable straw? Share your plastic challenge and progress on social media: 

Tag @EdibleSB, @PlasticFreeJuly and use the #PlasticFreeJuly and #ChooseToRefuse hashtags.

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Summer 2019

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