By Rowena Mynott
By now most people will understand that plastics are causing havoc to our natural environment, especially our oceans. So prevalent is this man made element in our lives that it is difficult to imagine how we could live without it. Of course there are some areas of life where plastic products are important, but there are multitudes more where they are not and where they can (and should) be replaced by a more sustainable alternative.
The McDonalds website states that it serves around 60 million people a day. Assuming that each person has a drink means that we as a global population are responsible for contributing well over 60 million straws to landfills per day. Not into fast food and think this doesn’t apply to you? What about that iced coffee from your local coffee house or that healthy fresh fruit smoothie that you buy for lunch? These all come with plastic straws too. Remember the figure above was from just one fast food outlet alone and does not take into consideration straws used at home, at parties or the straws from your child’s juice boxes.
Feeling suitably guilty? Not to worry. There is, of course, an alternative! There are many plastic free choices: stainless steel, bamboo, paper but the stand out for me is glass.
Glass Dharma is the producer of glass straws, a sustainable alternative to the plastic straw. Their straws are made from borosilicate glass, which you might be familiar with from Pyrex products. They are tough, contain no lead and are relatively cheap. Ok, not quite as cheap as around 9c per straw, which is what you might pay if you buy a bulk box of 400 plastic straws, but imagine how long your glass straw will last you in comparison. On top of the fact that you are reusing them, they come with a lifetime guarantee so break it and Glass Dharma will replace it for you free of charge. Cant ask for better than that!
Upon receiving my straws I noticed two things straight away. Firstly the packaging is very simple, elegant and made from recycled products. What a great way to keep up the ethos of your company. Secondly I realised I was not alone in my secret fetish of combining hot drinks with straws and more importantly I could actually use my glass straw in hot beverages as well as cold. Now, not only was I not alone, the glass straw turned my drinking experience on its head. There is something so decedent about drinking through a glass straw that Glass Dharma has almost made it into a sexy experience.
Although they are a beautiful product for us adults, kids shouldn’t be denied the fun too – in fact, our next generation are the ones who should be introduced to these products early so that carrying around reusable utensils becomes the norm and not some ‘hippy’ ideal. Parents shouldn’t be put off from letting their kids use this product, despite being made of glass they are tougher than I had imagined. Of course, they will break and yes, I did lose one from a ‘break test’ that I conducted in the interests of providing a good review. However, it wasn’t until it fell from around 5ft onto a concrete floor that it broke. I tried initially a small hesitant drop onto the counter top – it bounced. A fall from 2 ft and 3ft onto concrete floor both bounced. Not even a chip or a crack. Incredible! I am certainly happy enough to let my two-year-old son use them with adult supervision.
I have tried not to be biased but I can’t hide the fact that I loved these straws. Whilst the experience factor and the environmental factor are big pluses, there are actual health benefits of drinking through a straw. It has long been reputed that drinking through a straw reduces tooth decay, and as Glass Dharma state, can reduce the staining on teeth from red wine, tea and coffee. Most importantly, being made of glass also removes the chance of nasty plastic toxins leaching into your system as you drink.
The oldest drinking straw in existence was dated to around 3,000 BC from a Sumerian tomb. These guys knew how to make straws sexy. It was gold lined and inlaid with lapis lazuli stones. No throwing this one away. I often think ancient civilizations had the right idea and with our increased technology we are losing the ability to live in harmony with our planet. Ancient peoples had a few good quality items that were vital and that they hung on to; we on the other hand are complete consumers – a discard population using cheap and nasty products that have a knock on effect to the rest of society and our planet. Of course the same can be said for our methods of gathering food vs. theirs…. but I digress. I’m a big fan of reusable implements. I carry around a stainless water bottle, I’ve been carrying around stainless steel chopsticks with me for about 3 years and now I can carry my glass straw. Glass Dharma offer a carry case for this very purpose.
Whether your preferred tipple is a cocktail, glass of juice or just a good old cuppa, there is a straw designed for you. Glass Dharma offer plain straight straws, long straws, short cocktail straws, bent straws, straws with coloured dots to prevent them rolling off counter tops and they will even make a straw to your order.
For those that partake in a sneaky fast food meal here and there, a take away smoothie or a juice, why not try and remember to ask for no straw with your drink and use your glass one instead? Lets see if we can knock a few zeros off that 60 million figure.
Top 10 reasons to use glass straws:
- The most important reason: you are helping our environment
- No toxins will leach out of your straw and into your body
- Reduce staining on teeth
- Save money on buying plastic straws
- Feel good. Not only will you feel good about saving the planet, your cup of tea will have never felt so decidant
- Teach your kids the ethical way to live from an early age
- Locally made in the USA: no cheap labour sourced from the east
- Lifetime guarantee. If you do break your straw you will get a free replacement
- Easily washed and sterilized in the dishwasher – something that’s obviously not possible if like me you used to try and reuse plastic straws
- They are a beautiful product and can be displayed in a glass on the countertop
These straws will be available in the next couple of weeks in our new shop. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to place a pre-order.