Can a straw be recycled?

It depends on the type of straw. Expectedly, plastic straws are not biodegradable. This only means that they will be left in the landfills for a very long time after you dispose of them. 

On the other hand, paper straws may have a higher chance of being recycled. However, this still depends on how they were manufactured.

Apart from the fact that most straws are not properly disposed of, we need to find a more sustainable alternative that would not have as much impact on the environment. 

Recycling straws

  • Check if your local recycling facility actually accepts plastics. If they do, check which specific plastic types are accepted for recycling. If they consider the #5 plastics, also referred to as Polypropylene, then you can collect and recycle your straws in the recycle bin.
  • Collect your straws in a plastic bag and separate them from the rest of your trash. Straws that are not in a container are not usually recycled because they are too small and can damage the processing machines at the recycling station. Your best option is to use the same type of plastic to contain them, such as butter tubs and takeout food containers. An easy way to check if they’re of the same type is to see the bottom of the plastic containers. 
  • Collect the straws in the plastic container immediately after use. After use, place all the straws in a plastic jar rather than the trash. It is best to cut them into smaller pieces to save space inside the jar. Once full, make sure the jar is sealed before you place it in the recycling bin.
  • Make sure no food scraps are left on the straws and the container. Wash them out and wipe them dry before setting it in your garbage bin. 

Reusing straws

There are many ways to reuse and repurpose plastic straws. Its plastic is durable to last long, which also explains why it is hard to recycle. It is best to maximize its durability by repurposing it instead of just throwing it straight to the trash.

One simple way to reuse plastic straws to label electrical cords. Inside our houses, electrical cords and plugs usually go haywire because they’re all over the place. Plastic straws can help us organize them by serving as labels. Simply cut the plastic straws to long strips, measuring 1inch. To make it more effective, use a pen or marker to label what the cord is for, and then put some tape to secure it.

How can we prevent straw waste?

With more and more restaurants and companies trying to cut down on waste and be kinder to the environment, this one can be easily done. Sometimes, you do not even need to refuse, since some restaurants do not offer straws anymore. 

Remove the lid off the cup and drink it directly. If you are traveling, put a lid on it so it doesn’t spill and take the lid off when you get to your location. 

You can also opt for reusable straws to reduce the use of plastic. Reusable straws come in different types such as stainless steel, bamboo, or glass. Bring a few straws with you and take them when travelling. 

Bring a reusable straw with you to restaurants or cafes so you can still enjoy your drink without asking for a plastic straw. 

You can also talk to your friends about limiting their straw use. Make it a point to let them know  about its negative effects on the environment, and how it can also pose dangerous risks when they get to the oceans. 

Common questions about recycling straws

What is the best way to dispose of plastic straws?

The best way to dispose of them is to cut them down into small pieces and place all those pieces in a plastic jar. The plastic jar should be made from #5 plastic to make recycling easier. After collecting in a jar, you can place them in the recycling bin. It is also crucial that no food scraps are left in the straws before you throw them.

Are bottle tops recyclable?

Plastic bottle tops are recyclable when disposed of properly. It depends on the type of plastic they are made of, but are generally able to be recycled by specialized facilities.

Where can I recycle straws?

Be actively on the lookout for stores offering recycle bins for straws. There are a lot of convenience stores providing this. Usually, these recycle bins accept straws and takeaway cups and are taken to the local recycling facility.

Because of how notorious plastic straws have become to marine life, straws are being highly discouraged in restaurants and cafes. Reusable straws are now more popular, coming in metal, glass, and bamboo. With a little sacrifice of convenience and more commitment, we can totally eradicate plastic straws from being used around the globe.