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Are Plastic Straws Recyclable – Start With This

Studies have shown that an estimated 500 million plastic straws are utilized daily in the US Enough to fill 125 school buses! And if you think about it, most of us use a straw for just a few minutes before throwing it away.

Plastic straws come from petroleum, a non-renewable resource.

While most people want to save the environment from plastic straws, Are Plastic Straws Recyclable?

If you have plastic straws in your homes, don’t worry! Check out this guide for recycling and reusing so they do not end up in a landfill.

Are Plastic Straws Recyclable?

Plastic straws are not recyclable but can be reused.

First and foremost, plastic straws are type 5 plastic (polypropylene).

They are too small and lightweight to undergo the recycling process.

Most recyclers do not accept the straws because they tend to clog up machinery, part of the material ends up in dumping sites, and there’s a low demand for them.

You can reuse the straws, but it would be best not to use them with food and beverages.

How To Reuse Plastic Straws

Reusing plastic straws is an easy method to lessen or minimize the plastic waste that enters landfills and rivers.

They are as follows:

  1. Cleaning Tool: One way to reuse plastic straws is to clean hard-to-reach places like a water bottle or a narrow tube. Cut the straw to the desired length, insert it into the space, and use it to swab away debris. You can also use it to remove some dirt from small kitchen utensils and other devices.
  2. Plant marker: Another way to repurpose plastic straws is to use them as plant markers. Just write the plant’s names on the straw and stick it in the soil or pot near the base of the plant. It is a great way to reuse plastic straws and identify plants in a garden.
  3. Decorations: The straws can be used as decorations for your homes or parties. Cut the straws into small pieces and use them to create beads for jewelry or ornaments for the tree. With a little bit of creativity, your parties will look colorful.
  4. Keep your jewelry free of tangles: Straws can help keep your jewelry from tangling. Put a chain through a straw for drinking, and then fasten it. This technique is excellent; it will help you keep your necklaces nicely in the cabinets or luggage without tangling. You can try it out.

How To Properly Get Rid Of Plastic Straws

Properly disposing of plastic straws reduces plastic waste and helps the environment.

  • The first step is to ensure plastic straws are not used unnecessarily. Whenever possible, opting for reusable straws is the best option. If plastic straws are involved, then they should be recycled when possible. To do this, look for the plastic recycling symbol on the straws and put them in the appropriate bin (i.e. type 5 plastic container).
  • Another option for disposing of plastic straws is to send them to a plastic recycling facility. It is a great way to ensure that the straws are recycled and not sent to landfill. Try and confirm with your local recycling centers to know if they take plastic straws for recycling. If not, it may be possible to donate the straws to a facility that does take them. It is also vital to make sure that the straws are clean before sending them to be recycled. This helps to ensure the conversion process goes smoothly.

The Risks Of Not Recycling Plastic Straws

The risks of not recycling plastic straws are numerous, especially for our environment.

  • Plastic straws can take many years to decay. If they are not converted, they will drop into oceans, landfills, and other bodies of water. This pollution can have devastating impacts on the environment, including the destruction of aquatic habitats, the increase of toxins, and the creation of “plastic islands” in the middle of the ocean.
  • Plastic straws are not biodegradable, meaning they will never fully break down. They will remain in the environment for years, posing a hazard to wildlife and humans.
  • Furthermore, they release harmful chemicals and heavy metals into the environment and can even be ingested by animals, causing illness or death. For these reasons, you should handle your plastic straws properly or use reusable straws to protect the environment.

Eco-friendly Alternatives To Plastic Straws

Eco-friendly alternatives to plastic straws are a great way to reduce our reliance on single-use plastic items.

  • Using reusable straws is one of the ways to decrease waste. They are not only biodegradable but also far more durable than plastic. They come in stainless steel, bamboo, and glass and are often dishwasher-safe, making them easy to clean and reuse.
  • Another great alternative to plastic straws is compostable paper straws. They are made from organic substances and are biodegradable. They will not add to our plastic waste. They are also less expensive, making them a great eco-friendly for restaurants, hotels, etc.
  • Finally, there are also reusable silicone straws. They are incredibly durable and come in many colors and sizes to fit any need. They are also dishwasher-safe.

No matter which eco-friendly straw you choose, you can help the environment by reducing your reliance on single-use plastic items.

By switching to a reusable or compostable straw, you can help reduce the amount of plastic waste.


In conclusion, plastic straws are not recyclable but can be reused in various ways.

The best way to ensure that they are disposed of properly is to verify recycling centers accept them.

If not, look for alternative methods such as upcycling or repurposing them.

Therefore, you can use the above sustainable alternatives to reduce plastic straw waste.


Which straws are recyclable?

Paper straws and metal straws are recyclable. Both of these materials can be processed at a recycling facility and turned into new products. Plastic straws, on the other hand, are not commonly recycled due to their small size and low value. They are often contaminated with food and drink, making them difficult to clean and recycle. It is best to avoid using plastic straws and choose paper or metal alternatives instead.

How long does a plastic straw take to break down?

A plastic straw can take up to 200 years to break down in the environment, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The study, which used data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that plastic straws are one of the most common types of plastic waste found in the ocean, and they can have harmful impacts on wildlife and the ecosystem. It is important to reduce the use of plastic straws and properly dispose of them to protect the environment.

What Alternatives are there to plastic straws?

The best solution to stop using plastic straws is to switch to reusable or compostable alternatives, such as paper or metal straws. These materials can be used multiple times or disposed of in a way that does not harm the environment.


  • Jen Wheeler

    Jen Wheeler, co-founder of Recycling-Revolution.com, holds degrees from UC Berkeley, Yale, and Stanford. A renowned environmentalist, she's championed sustainable practices at global events and leads EcoBright Solutions, focusing on recycling education and eco-friendly products.

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