Can You Reuse a Plastic Straw? Yes, But…

Can You Reuse a Plastic Straw? Yes, But…

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We all know that plastic straws are pretty bad for the environment. But let’s say you used one anyway. Should you just throw it away? Or could you reuse (or better repurpose) it in any way?

You can reuse a plastic straw, but better not with food and drinks. Because its small opening is destined for bacteria to grow and its plastic wears off over time. Rather reuse your plastic straw for something more practical such as in crafts, to hold spices, or even to keep flowers upright.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can reuse a plastic straw.

Plastic Straws Are That Bad for the Environment

It’s no secret anymore that disposable plastic straws harm the environment more than help it. They aren’t biodegradable, and they put animals at risk every day, especially marine life. Most of us remember when that video of the sea turtle with a straw in its nose went viral back in 2015.

Finding ways to cut back on the usage of disposable plastic that makes up the world’s plastic pollution has been a goal for many organizations around the world. In just 2009 alone, the US generated 30 million tons of plastic. Only 7% of that was even recycled at all. 

And the chemicals that make up the single-use plastic items we use on a daily basis have the potential to harm not only the environment but the people in it as well. It isn’t just the animals. 

Ways to Reuse Your Straws

A way that you can help reduce the plastic that ends up in the oceans or landfills is to reuse your disposable plastic straws. However, it might not be a great idea to reuse them for your drinks or food. 

One of the biggest concerns with reusable plastic or metal straws is that mold seems to grow in them easily. It’s a small space that typically is used for drinks. This means moisture – and bacteria love moisture. Combine that with the difficult-to-reach space, and you have a breeding ground for mold. They are simply too prone to bacteria to be reused for their original purpose.

And there is a greater risk of those chemicals that make up your straw to end up in your drinks over time. After all, they’re only designed to be used once.

Luckily, there are a lot of ways that you can reuse (aka repurpose) those plastic straws.

Turn Them Into Bag Clips

Turning your straws into bag clips is an interesting way to keep your chips fresh. All you’ll need are two plastic straws and a pair of scissors. The two straws will keep your food from going stale.

  1. Cut one of the straws down the middle. 
  2. Roll the bag over the uncut straw. 
  3. Slide the cut straw over the uncut one.

Check out the video below for how to seal a bag with two straws:

Hold Your Spices and Herbs 

Have you ever needed some kind of seasoning while you were out but weren’t able to get it? Sometimes when you’re out camping, you just really want that taste of herbs but don’t have the space to pack the whole container. You can actually use plastic straws to hold small amounts of spices and herbs. The best part is they’re waterproof!

You can use this method to hold all kinds of things, not just herbs and spices. You’ll need a pair of pliers, a lighter, and a couple of straws.

  1. Cut the straws to the desired length.
  2. Hold one end shut with the pliers.
  3. Use the lighter to melt the end closed by the pliers.
  4. Fill the straw with your spices or herbs.
  5. Pince the other end with the pliers.
  6. Use the lighter again to melt the other side of the straw.

Take a look at the video below to see how to make waterproof straw containers:

Remove Strawberry Stems

Hulling strawberries can be so time-consuming. A faster way to do it is to use plastic straw. All you need to do is stick one end of the straw on the bottom side of a strawberry, opposite the stem. Push the straw through the strawberry, and the stem will pop off at the other end.

Check out this video for the best way to use a straw to remove a strawberry stem:

Fun Arts and Crafts Projects

Kids love to do arts and crafts. Now, you can use plastic straws to make all kinds of fun projects. Just check out the video below for 11 cool things you can make:

Create Fast and Easy Fire Starters

These plastic fire starters are great for camping trips. They’ll make starting a campfire fast and simple so you can focus on the more important things. You’re going to need cotton balls, petroleum jelly, a pair of pliers, a lighter, something to push the cotton balls into the straws, and some straws.

  1. Use the pliers and pinch off one end of the straw.
  2. Melt the end using the lighter.
  3. Push some plain cotton into the bottom of the straw.
  4. Even coat the cotton balls in the petroleum jelly.
  5. Take pieces of the petroleum jelly cotton balls and push them into the straw.
  6. Pinch the other end of the straw closed using the pliers. 
  7. Melt the end using the lighter. 
  8. To use the fire starter, just cut off one end and pull the cotton out. 
  9. Light the cotton using a lighter or a match.

Check out the video below to learn how to make mini fire starters out of straws:

Here are other great ways you can reuse your plastic straws:

  • Save your jewelry – thread your necklaces through the straw to prevent them from tangling.
  • Bobby pin holder – use a straw to hold your bobby pins. You can close off the ends as you do for the spice holders.
  • Keep your plants standing tall – tie your plants up by using straws, so they don’t get damaged by falling over.
  • Make your child a flute – tape a bunch of straw together and then cut them at an angle, so each straw is a different length.

Easy Ways to Stop Using Disposable Plastic Straws

Even though finding ways to reuse plastic straws can be fun, the best thing we can all do to help the environment is to stop using them altogether. This can be a difficult thing to do, especially when so many restaurants and fast food places use them. However, below you’ll find four simple ways that you can stop using single-use plastic straws.

Use Metal, Glass, or Reusable Plastic Straws

This is a great way to stop using single-use plastic straws. Purchasing a set metal, glass, or reusable plastic straws will help eliminate the amount of plastic that ends up in the trash. The biggest downside to these great items is that they’re harder to clean. However, most packs of these reusable straws come with a cleaner to make life easier.

  • Metal – Stainless steel straws are great, but you do risk getting a slightly metallic taste. It’s nothing different than drinking out of a stainless-steel tumbler. You can also get them in different colors. This 12 pack of metal straws gives you two different lengths, so you never run out of options.
  • Glass – Glass straws can be a nice alternative to single-use straws because there’s no chance of getting that metallic taste you can sometimes get with metal straws. This 8 piece set of glass straws on Amazon gives you 4 straight straws and 4 bent ones.
  • Reusable Plastic – Just like the options above, reusable plastic straws are also an option. These can also come in different colors. You can get a 52 pack of reusable plastic straws on Amazon, and it also comes with two cleaners.

Use Other Types of Reusable Straws

You don’t have to stick to just metal, glass, or plastic. There are other options you can choose that are actually biodegradable, and the following are great alternatives:

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it, folks! You can most certainly reuse your plastic straws. However, reusing it with food or drinks isn’t recommended. Thankfully, there are other ways that you can use those plastic straws again so that they don’t end up in the ocean or a landfill. Or you can opt out of plastic straws altogether. In any case, you now know that you can reuse your plastic straws.

Stay impactful,


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