Are plastic straws recyclable? 9 ways to reuse straws

Plastic straws are a convenient and efficient solution for drinking beverages. However, they are not considered eco-friendly, due to their inability to be recycled. With plastic straws being so popular, as well as non-biodegradable, this is a big problem. So, can plastic straws be recycled?

Plastic straws can technically be recycled, but it’s a difficult process. You can’t just toss your plastic straws into a recycling bin—they’re small and thin, so they get caught in the sorting machines at recycling plants. The result is that most plastic straws end up in landfills instead of being recycled.

Plastic straws have gotten a lot of negative publicity in recent years, due to their potential to pollute oceans and impact marine life. That’s why we will try to explain to you are plastic straws recyclable and guide you through the recycling process. Let’s check it!

Are plastic straws recyclable?

Are plastic straws recyclable

Are plastic straws recyclable? The answer is yes, but only in certain circumstances.

While it’s true that many plastic straws are made from recyclable material, many other types of plastic straws are not recyclable in a traditional curbside recycling system.

Plastic straws are made from a type of plastic called polypropylene, which is used in many products because it’s cheap to produce and easy to form into all kinds of shapes.

But there’s one big problem with plastic straws: they’re really hard to recycle.

Straws are mainly very dangerous because they are so hard to recycle. Straws get stuck in recycling machines and clog them up, which slows down the recycling process and ultimately makes it less efficient.

That’s because they’re so small and thin, which means they can easily get mixed up with other items during the sorting process at recycling centers.

And even if they do get separated from everything else, they still have a problem: they don’t melt down when heated as most other plastics do during the recycling process.

Plastic straws can be recycled but only under certain conditions. When they’re used in drinks, the straws get wet and dirty, which makes them hard to recycle.

They also get mixed up with other materials like paper and cardboard, which means they can’t be sorted properly at recycling centers.

This means that even after you’ve sorted your plastics by type ( HDPE or PET ), you’ll still have to manually remove these non-bendable little guys before putting them into your curbside collection bins or drop-off locations!

To make sure that your plastic straws get recycled, you can try putting them in the blue bin at home or in your office.

Alternatively, you can use paper straws or metal straws instead of plastic ones which will help reduce the amount of waste going into landfills.

Do straws go in the recycling?

Straws are a small but significant part of the plastic problem. So if you try to find out do straws go in the recycling, you’ll find different theories.

Even though it’s technically recyclable, curbside programs seldom process straws. Why? Because they’re so small and lightweight that they end up contaminating other materials.

How to recycle plastic straws?

A lot of people think that because plastic straws are small and thin, they’re not doing any harm to the environment.

The truth is that they’re one of the most common types of plastic litter found in waterways and oceans, so they can be very harmful.

So, how to recycle plastic straws and what should you do with them? The best option is not to use them at all. If you use them, dispose of them in general rubbish, or opt for reusable ones.

What percent of straws are recycled?

It’s hard to tell exactly what percent of straws are recycled, but it’s estimated that only 5% of plastic is recycled in the US.

Straws make up a small amount of this. The number of straws used each year in the US is estimated at over 500 million, but only 3% of them are recycled.

How to reuse plastic straws?

If you’re worried about how to reuse plastic straws you have in your house, here are 9 creative ways to reuse them:

  1. Water your plants

Plastic straws can be used as plant stakes for indoor plants. Simply cut off one end of the straw, poke holes in it with a nail or a fork, and place it in the soil near the base of your plant.

You can also use it as a makeshift irrigation system for thirsty plants such as succulents and cacti by placing one end into water and letting it soak up until water reaches the other end of the straw.

  1. Vacuum your bags

If you buy produce that comes in clear plastic bags, you’ve probably noticed that they look like they could be vacuumed!

If you have a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment, just stick the straw in the bag and suck out all the air until it starts collapsing on itself.

  1. Store Pins

You could also use empty plastic straws as storage boxes for pins or paperclips etc… by cutting holes into them first and then placing some tape over each hole so that nothing falls out when it is tipped up from side to side.

  1. Use as a stir stick for paint or glue

Plastic straws make great stirrers! You can use them to stir paints and glues, or even BBQ sauces and marinades if you need an extra long one.

They’re also great for making arts and crafts projects like this adorable little bird mobile made with straws and beads!

  1. Use as an earring holder in the bathroom

If you have many earrings but not enough space to store them all, try making an earring holder out of plastic straws!

You can simply bend them into shapes or make holes in them before bending them into whatever shape you like.

  1. Make a pencil holder

Straws can be bent and formed into lots of different shapes. This is great for using up the leftovers from your straw-making session, or for reshaping old ones that have lost their flexibility.

The result is a fun pencil holder that looks like it was made from bamboo!

  1. Use as a toothbrush holder for kids’ rooms

If your kids have their toothbrushes, they might need somewhere to put them while they brush their teeth.

A reusable straw is a great way to keep toothbrushes organized and off the countertop or floor. Plus, it looks cute!

  1. Make a DIY funnel from them

Cut off one end of the straw and use it to make a funnel for pouring liquids into small containers like spice jars, medicine bottles, or smaller food containers that need more than just an eye dropper.

  1. Make them into jewelry organizers

Plastic straws are great for organizing your jewelry because they are flexible and lightweight making it easy for you to carry around in your purse without any hassle at all!

Why are plastic straws bad?

Plastic straws are a huge environmental problem. They’re one of the most common types of trash found on beaches and in the ocean, and they’re usually made from petroleum products.

But why are plastic straws bad?

Environment pollution

Plastic straws are made from polypropylene, which is derived from fossil fuels like oil and natural gas.

They don’t just disappear after you throw them away; they will remain in landfills for many years, degrading slowly into smaller pieces until they’re too small to be detected by the naked eye.

Plastic is made from oil and other fossil fuels, which are non-renewable resources. When we use plastic straws, we’re contributing to the pollution of our planet.

Every year, millions of tons of plastic end up in landfills or oceans around the world. It takes thousands of years for plastic to break down into tiny pieces (if at all).

There are many ways you can help reduce your personal use of plastic such as using reusable bags or avoiding buying products packaged with excessive amounts of plastic packaging materials.

Harmful to Animals

Plastic waste kills marine life when animals mistake floating pieces of debris for food or get caught in nets or fishing lines that have been left behind by boats or ships.

Animals also ingest small plastic particles when they eat plankton and other food particles floating in the water where large amounts of plastic litter have been introduced by humans through runoff and directly dumping garbage into oceans or rivers.

The Ocean Conservancy estimates that 8 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year.

That includes more than 7,000 tons of straws—enough to fill over 125 school buses!

Does cutting up plastic straws help?

Cutting plastic straws might help marine life since the pieces are smaller animals like fish and seabirds are less likely to choke on them or starve if they get the plastic pieces in their stomachs. 

It’s not ideal to just cut up straws and other single-use plastics, because then more straws will end up in the ocean than before, and also it makes recycling a lot harder.

Instead, you should reduce your use of single-use plastics and make sure you recycle everything you can.

So when you ask, “Does cutting up plastic straws help”, you should know that it will help animals not to get killed by random pieces of plastics but it won’t help the environment.

Are plastic straws biodegradable?

The answer to the question, “Are plastic straws biodegradable”, is NO!

Plastic straws aren’t biodegradable, but they do break down into smaller pieces over time – microplastic.

This means they won’t completely disappear, and they won’t get digested by microorganisms in the soil.

Microplastic pollution is a growing problem in our oceans and landfills.

It’s estimated that 8 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the ocean each year, with much of it ending up in the digestive systems of marine animals.

What are biodegradable straws made of?

Usually when we’re wondering what are biodegradable straws made of we think about the type of natural materials. Mostly biodegradable straws are made from plant fiber or Corn PLA.

  • Corn PLA is a material made from corn and it looks like plastic, but unlike plastic fibers it is biodegradable. Straws made from corn PLA are recommended only for cold drinks since this type of material begins to melt at 105F. As well, as keep it away from direct sunlight.
  • The paper which is used for making straws is made from FSC-certified fiber. Paper straws are usually constructed from 3 piles of paper which are bonded together with a small amount of water-based adhesive.

Are paper straws recyclable? 

You might be wondering: Are paper straws recyclable? Well, the answer is not so simple.

The short answer is yes: paper straws can be recycled.

However, the long answer is that you might need to do a little work to make sure your paper straws get recycled properly.

First of all, you should know that paper straws aren’t as harmful to the environment as regular plastic straws, but they do still have an impact.

Are paper straws recyclable

In general, paper products are usually recyclable, and this means that in general, paper straws are recyclable.  Of course, that also depends on the paper straw manufacturers. 

The first thing you should keep in mind is that most recycling facilities will not accept food-contaminated straws made from paper.

Paper tends to absorb liquids and that may be the case that your paper straws will not be recycled. 

This doesn’t mean that paper straws are completely non-recyclable. It just means that need to be sure there are no food residues on your straw before you recycle it.

Paper straws are not made from the same material as many other types of paper products.

Since paper straws absorb liquids, they will most likely not be accepted into recycling facilities.

If you use paper straws, you should make sure to keep them away from messy foods.

Frequently asked questions

In this section, you can find answers to some of the most common questions when it comes to this topic. Let’s see!

How many plastic straws are used each year in the world?

It is estimated that Americans use 500 million plastic straws every day. In Britain, it’s estimated that 47 million plastic straws are used each day. That’s 229 billion plastic straws a year.

Are bubble tea straws recyclable?

That depends on the material from which they are made. Some bubble tea straws are made of recyclable materials (paper, metal, glass). Are bubble tea straws recyclable?

Yes. Most bubble tea straws are made from recyclable materials (paper, metal, glass). However, the most common type of straws uses TPE (thermoplastic elastomer), which is also food safe.

Are juice box straws recyclable?

It depends on the material. Most straws are made of plastic, but some companies have started to use recyclable paper straws. If you have a plastic straw, take it out of the package after you use it since most juice boxes are recyclable.

Are McDonald’s plastic straws recyclable?

Many consumers were surprised to learn that McDonald’s plastic straws are not recyclable and that even the paper straws marked as eco-friendly are not recyclable. Unlike them, Starbucks plastic straws are no longer in use because of their harm to marine life.


We all need to play a role in protecting the environment. In this case, try not to accept plastic drinking 

straws and recycle them when you can’t avoid them.

You can always bring your metal straw with you if you want to use one or purchase some online.

If every person could do that, we might be able to cut down on the number of plastic straws in use around the world.

If you need more information don’t hesitate to comment. Our team is at your disposal.

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