War on straws: 5 eco-friendly alternatives to plastic

The city of Seattle doing it. So is coffee giant Starbucks.

Even fast food chain McDonald’s has made news internationally about it.

They all are ditching plastic straws and opting for eco-friendly alternatives.

The news of the ban on plastic straws comes as part of a global push from environmentalists, who say plastic straws are destroying the ocean.

It is estimated that more than 500 million single-use plastic straws are used and thrown away every day in the U.S., according to the National Park Service.

"A YouTube video of a plastic straw being removed from the nostril of a sea turtle has now been watched by over 15.8 million people. This 2015 video and the prevalence of plastic straws in marine waste have spurred consumers in the U.S., Canada and Europe to ask restaurants and concession vendors to be 'straw free,’” Keith Schnip, a McDonald’s shareholder during the company’s annual meeting in May.

While the burger giant didn’t ban plastic straws in U.S. yet, it said in June it will start switching to paper straws in the U.K. and Ireland in September. The company also made a packaging goal that by 2025 "all of McDonald's guest packaging (including straws) will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources.”

What’s more, Seattle, Miami Beach and Malibu, California have already passed bans on plastic straws in its bars and restaurants, with Seattle being the first to completely eliminate them.

But the big question now is: what is the best and most eco-friendly alternative out there?

Here are five startups looking to disrupt the $500 million world of plastic straws.

1. Lolistraw by Loliware – It’s the world’s first edible and hyper-compostable straw. It’s made by the same designers who came up with Loliware, the edible cup that made its first debut in 2015 on TV show “Shark Tank.” The Lolistraw is made from seaweed and its coloring and flavor comes from fruit and vegetable pigments.

2. Harvest Straws – These straws are grown, harvested and cut by hand in Southern California from heritage, non-GMO grain.

3. BeOrganic Glass Straws – These straws are made with 50% to 100% organic fabrics and colored with 100% organic dyes or factory remnants and recycled fabrics.

4. Aardvark Straws – These paper straws are made in the U.S. using materials that are non-toxic, BPA free and elemental chlorine free.

5. Simply Straws – These glass straws are handcrafted in California and come with a lifetime guarantee.