Food

How Are You Using Your Reusable Straws?

Thursday, October 10, 2019

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Most, if not all, local food establishments have phased out plastic straws, to comply with the recent plastic ban. While I'm not overly excited about paper straws, more of these are being offered as options if you do decide to use straws for your drink. Additionally, there is the option of purchasing reusable straws that you can travel with and use at your convenience. Be mindful of the fact, however, that while reusable straws will without a doubt reduce the carbon footprint, improper use of these utensils can result in transfer of toxins and bacteria to beverages. Here are a few tips that will help safeguard your health while you seek to protect the environment.

1. When choosing a metal straw, ensure that it is stainless steel, medical-grade stainless steel or titanium, as these will resist oxidation and corrosion, which can cause your beverages to become toxic. Stainless steel, however, may eventually strip, so be on the watch for this and replace if this happens, resulting in contamination of beverages.

2. Glass straws are beautiful and easy to keep clean due to their transparency! Although most glass straws are made with chip-and shatter-resistant materials, watch out for chips and cracks on your straws. Avoid using them to stir liquid once placed in a container — especially metal and hard plastic, as this can cause chips to end up in beverage. Additionally, I would suggest you don't give unsupervised children under six glass straws.

3. Bamboo straws are great! However, they require more work to keep clean. Ensure you clean and dry your straw properly immediately after use to avoid mould and bacteria build-up inside the straw.

4. If you use your straws outside of home, ensure you have a carrier pouch that is kept clean and dry at all times. The pouch should include a brush to wash the insides and cloth to dry. Once you decide to travel with your straws, make adequate provisions to wash before reuse. Alternatively, you have the option to walk with two pouches to separate the used dirty straws from clean ones.

5. It is important that you get the correct cleaning brush that can be used for the material of your straw and that fits the straw. I was gifted two bamboo straws and had a really hard time using the packaged brush to clean my larger 12mm straw. You want to ensure it is a tight fit so it removes all residue from the insides, even if it means buying additional brushes.

6. Always use food-grade soap to wash your straws. Rinsing straws with water alone will not work. You need to ensure all drink residue is removed from your straws, especially if you have been using them to drink beverages with high-risk ingredients, such as milk.


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