Straw poll

What Your Straw Says About You

So you've made the decision to ditch plastic straws. Great. But what type of straw alternative should you opt for?

By Olivia Letts July 25, 2019

A hot summer day demands an icy beverage with the correct straw

Image: Olivia Letts

I've always loved a good straw, and for most of my life, that has meant loving plastic straws. Cheap, easy and always available, they never let me down. But straws have become a flash point in the controversy over plastic pollution in our oceans.

Last fall, a friend called me out over my straw usage. If I claimed to love the environment so much, how could I thoughtlessly continue to throw away straw after straw? Wasn't my tender Florida heart broken by that viral video of a sea turtle having a bloody straw removed from its nostril?

On my journey to atone for a lifetime of plastic straw consumption, I tested several alternative fluid transportation devices and conduced a psychoanalytical study of people who prefer each of the following. Here are my findings:

Silicone Straw

The silicone straw is pleasant, squishy and safe and comes in various colors and sizes for all kinds of cups and drinks. Resembling the nipple of a bottle, the silicone straw is a treat for people who have a problem with chewing on pens and nails until they're a mangled mess. It works well both for travel and home use, but be warned that these straws are a great environment for mold if you do not allow them to dry properly.

Mouth Feel: 10/10

Ease of Use: 7/10

Durability: 9/10

Pairs Best With: Anything cold, especially iced coffee and tea, water or "girly" alcoholic drinks.

Personality Profile: People who love this type of straw are flexible and adaptable, probably because they lack a spine.

Paper Straw

The paper straw is by far the most popular plastic alternative and they are increasingly used at cafés and restaurants. It is despised for its tendency to fall apart, but I find something satisfying about sucking my beverage through a straw that melts into the shape of my mouth. As an eco-friendly throwaway straw for your business, parties or personal imbibing pleasure, the thing works, but consider opting for thicker, more durable paper straws. Not all paper straws are created equal.

Mouth Feel: 6/10

Ease of Use: 5/10

Durability: 2/10

Pairs Best With: Anything you can drink quickly.

Personality Profile: Paper straw people crumple under pressure just like the straw. They're generally good workers, but have a hard time climbing the career ladder because they have the charisma of a paperclip.

Pasta Straw

The pasta straw is very strange, but more durable than you'd expect. It is intended to be rinsed and reused, and it will provide you with some interesting conversation fodder should you dare to use it in public. However, you can detect a slight gluteny flavor with this straw, and it gets soft when it's been damp for a while. The coolest thing about the pasta straw is that it is compostable, which will come in handy when you decide the straw sucks and toss it into the garden.

Mouth Feel: 6/10

Ease of Use: 6/10

Durability: 6/10

Pairs Best With: Marinara sauce.

Personality Profile: You might recognize pasta straw people from their earthy, organic vibe. They have a hard time coping when they have to throw out food that has passed its expiration date.

They say the straw offers a window to one's soul

Image: Olivia Letts

Stainless Steel Straw

Stainless steel straws are the most popular for travel. Feeling like a mad scientist, I drove my car over one to see if it would survive the impact. It did. But to use this straw, you might want to be at peace with slurping up extra amoebas, because it's hard to ensure that the straw is dry and clean. As if life isn't already complicated enough, now you'll need to tote around a pipe cleaner.

Mouth Feel: 7/10

Ease of Use: 7/10

Durability: 10/10

Pairs Best With: Iced coffee, juice, energy drinks, water.

Personality Profile: If you're a stainless steel straw person, you most likely have strong opinions, even if you're quiet. If this is your favorite straw, ask yourself if you've ever given someone a human rights lesson while wearing either Birkenstocks or rave gear.

Glass Straw

The glass straw has a somewhat similar feel to drinking with the stainless steel straw, except you can actually see if it's clean. Most glass straws are made from borosilicate, a type of glass that is quite durable and holds up well with temperature changes. They aren't the best option if you need to transport a straw around, but they're highly Instagrammable. The glass straw should last long if you wash it by hand and take care not to chip it.

Mouth Feel: 8/10

Ease of Use: 7/10

Durability: 8/10

Pairs Best With: Smoothies, milkshakes, lattes, pretty drinks.

Personality Profile: You know you’re dealing with a glass straw person if he or she gives you a business card on a date or color-coordinates his or her closet.

Twizzler Straw

To make a Twizzler straw, you must buy the kind of Twizzler with the ends that look like they are clamped shut, bite off both ends and voilà! You can now relive your childhood memories. Obviously you can't reuse a Twizzler straw (unless you're a very strange individual), but these are fun to show kids how to make or use if you have a spare Twizzler lying around. It isn't the smoothest transporter of fluid, but there's something delightful about drinking something from a sweet, edible straw.

Mouth Feel: 9/10

Ease of Use: 6/10

Durability: 1/10

Pairs Best With: Sodas, Gatorade, milk.

Personality Profile: If you like this straw best, you have a healthy connection with your inner child, which means that you are a bit stunted.

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