Between Starbucks' recent move to eliminate plastic straws from all stores and that heartbreaking video of a sea turtle circulating the web, calls to #BanTheStraw have exploded this summer. And for good reason: the single-use straw isn't biodegradable, and ends up clogging landfills or contributing to the ocean's enormous garbage patch.

But saving the turtles may not be so simple. Disability advocates have come out to say that the total ban isn't inclusive, as many people with mobility challenges can't go without straws. Other people simply don't like the idea of Starbucks in a sippy cup, and aren't willing to make the switch.

Luckily, there are plenty of sustainable alternatives out there if you aren't game to skip the straw entirely. From paper to silicone, I tested them out so you don't have to.


Gail Rabasca

The paper straw was the cheapest option, and made for an easy single-use alternative to plastic. However, I was disappointed by its lack of staying power: the straw got soggy and fell apart before I was even halfway through my drink. If you don't like to chug your coffee, this model probably isn't your best bet.


Gail Rabasca

Handmade from real stalks, the bamboo straw was the most eco-friendly option. While I liked the durability of it compared to the paper style, this straw was a little too natural for me: it lacked a smooth finish and tasted almost woody. I would recommend bamboo to anyone who is looking for the most sustainable type of straw.


Gail Rabasca

The metal straw felt straight up bougie to use. It had a sleek design and a smooth feel. I liked that it felt as cold as my iced coffee, and didn't leave behind a metallic aftertaste. I would caution against putting this straw in a warmer drink, but for a cold beverage, the experience was a positive one.


Gail Rabasca

The handcrafted glass straw was the most beautiful alternative to plastic. Hypoallergenic and easy to clean, it's as good for your body as it is for the environment. However, the straw was a bit too thick for my liking, and almost reminded me of a thermometer. If you take good care of yourself and your possessions, this is the straw for you.


Gail Rabasca

The silicone straw offered the experience most similar to using plastic. Soft, skinny and flexible, this straw was the only one that could be chewed or bent. This is a fun and easy option for all ages. 

Whether you're looking to save the sea turtles or your Starbucks, there's a sustainable sipper out there for everyone. Try one for yourself before you decide that banning plastic is the last straw.