The new wave of plastic straw alternatives

U.S. & World
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JOHNSON CITY, Tennessee (NBC) — From Seattle to Johnson City, plastic straws may become more of a thing of the past. More and more cafes and restaurants are offering metal and hay alternatives that are easy to maintain.

“It’s really cool to see that almost every person is onboard with it and says “Yea, I’ll choose to use that instead of a typical plastic straw,” says Whitney Andes of Dos Gatos.

Straws are usually made from plastic that never breaks down. They make up the top ten items picked up at beach cleanups, but that’s not the only place they litter. 

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According to Ross Garland, Carter County, Tennessee commissioner, “The big trend these days are the plastic straws which I have found quite a few of those. People need to understand that it is trash, and it does litter up our highways.”

Environmentalist group Smashparks offered the alternative straws to businesses. Smashparks Project Manager, Liz Carnell, said the switch is easy. “It’s just a single use plastic. So that’s something that is easily reduced by just using either opting for no straw or using a stainless steel that can be re-used over and over. They can be easily cleaned with a brush and put it in the dishwasher and clean it that way. There is no difference to silverware that we use at restaurants.”

But it will make a difference to our environment one straw at a time. 

Straw alternatives are rolling out all across the country, and Starbucks isn’t the only major corporation to look at ditching plastic. Burger King, Alaska Airlines, and foodservice management giant Bon Appetit are among the companies working to find sustainable options for their customers.

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