Alternatives to single-use plastic straws populate the market

Since brands started committing to the anti-straw movement, the eco-friendly initiative has gone even further, with the EU parliament voting to ban single-use plastics, including straws and other cutlery, and a societal shift toward eliminating single-use cups, too. For consumers who like using straws, there’s no reason to fear—alternatives to plastic are popping up as a greener alternative. 


Millennial entrepreneur Melissa Lam hadn’t planned on starting her own business, but after a stint living closer to nature, she realized how much impact humans have on the environment and wanted to do something to help. Thus Bamboo Straw Girl was born. The Singapore-based online shop has expanded from eco-friendly straws to sell other products including bamboo cutlery, bamboo cups and flasks, bamboo toothbrushes, and scrunchies made from scrap cloth that would otherwise go to waste. Though most of Lam’s business is conducted online, she also sets up market stalls at fairs and pop-up events when possible.


Like Bamboo Straw Girl, Chew Inc. is also a Singapore-based company started by Millennials—who are truly putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to their desire for eco-friendly innovations. The three founders, all under 25 years old, pitch their product as the first chewable, reusable, pocketable straw. Their design solves two problems: people avoiding hard straws because they have the habit of chewing on soft ones, and people avoiding reusable straws because of not wanting to carry them around; Chew Inc. straws can be taken apart and stored in a case, and its silicone tip is pliable. 


Family-run KoffieStraw produces reusable straws made completely of silicone. The soft straws come in two lengths and are a good fit for most beverages, though they’re soft enough to be cut down in length if needed. The silicone retains room temperature, even when in a hot beverage, and the straws are dishwasher safe. In addition to being reusable, KoffieStraws are even more environmentally-friendly: they can be burned into 100% biodegradable ash, which the company encourages as the method of disposal after years of use.