As someone who LOVES a good cup of iced coffee in the morning (or two...or maybe three), I felt like I should get on the eco-friendly paper straw initiative. Once my school's dining services started using them at the on campus coffee shop, I thought it was a perfect way for me to be a little more green with my coffee drinking addiction. But honestly, (and if you've ever used a paper straw you'll understand) I couldn't stand how the straw felt in my mouth and how quickly it started to break down from the moisture. I quickly realized that paper straws were NOT for me, but it did get me thinking about other ways that I could avoid using plastic straws in my drinks. So if you're like me and aren't a fan of the new paper straws, here are five ways to enjoy your drink without harming the environment.
1. Bring your own reusable cup to be filled up
Why waste an entire plastic cup if you don't have to? Bringing your own reusable cup to get filled up saves a ton of plastic, and places like Starbucks and Dunkin' will even offer you a discount on your drink if you do! You can usually pick up a reusable coffee cup in the coffee shop itself, or I absolutely LOVE this four pack of reusable cups that I bought on Amazon (it even comes with a straw cleaner!)
2. Bring a reusable straw
If carrying a big cup is too much for you, then bring your own reusable straw with you to get your morning coffee. These metal straws donate 10% of their profits to support sea animal conservation and research, these mermaid straws come in straight and curved styles and are currently giving away 1 free straw to their customers, and you could get a glass or metal straw from this website that donates to saving the sea turtles. Most straws even come with their own carrying case, so you can throw it in your backpack when you're done using it and wash it once you get home.
3. Use a "sippy cup" style cup
Certain coffee locations actually offer cups that don't need a straw at all, such as Starbucks with their new straw-less lids for iced drinks. I personally love this option, and I love that the stores are taking initiative to go green in such an easy way! The lids are just like those used for hot coffee cups, and you tend to get more coffee with each sip. If your location (or local coffee shop) doesn't offer this yet, you can always ask to put your cold coffee in a hot coffee cup (who's gonna know the difference?).
4. Use a biodegradable plastic straw
Okay, so not ALL plastic straws are bad. These biodegradable plastic straws are perfect for my plastic straw lovers that just can't seem to find another alternative- and they'll even send you a free sample before you commit to anything! Using something like this every day could get on the pricey side, but if you're really dedicated to using your plastic straws, this one is the option for you.
5. Ditch the top altogehther!
Instead of finding an alternate way to get your drink from the cup to your mouth, just pop the top of the cup and forget the hassle! This one might be tough if you're taking your drink on the go (cue car spills and stained clothes), but it's definitely an easy option if you're just sitting at your desk or have a moment to enjoy your coffee at your kitchen table before work. No matter how you enjoy your new eco-friendly drink, make sure you ditch the plastic straw and do your part in making a difference!