Many municipalities are banning plastic straws. These straws are not recycled and end up in land fills and or whales’ noses. Also, there is a big island of plastic waste accumulating in the Pacific and as that big island of plastic grows, soon we will be able to drive to Hawaii (!).
Not using plastic straws is a small thing that we each can do (if we all do a small thing collectively, it really ends up being a big thing). Instead, we can use reusable metal straw. Benefit for environment and less plastic exposure to you because plastic in the straw can leach into your food. Safety advice: never use a metal straw while driving – the metal could pierce your brain or other organs if you were in a motor vehicle accident…
The metal straws I bought come with a tiny cleaning straw. But I can promise you that my kids are not going to do that. I mean they may have good intentions to clean them out but the reality is it does not happen. have a time brush.
Here are the steps to easily clean your straws:
- After use, keep soaked in water.
- Get a left over plastic container from when you buy strawberries/blueberries or other produce.
- Cut out a corner from the lid to fit the bottom of your dishwashing utensil basket. Good to use the curved edges. There usually are few holes in the plastic already. These holes will be the drain holes. If not enough holes you can punch in a few more. You need this plastic bottom cover and curved edge. Without it, the straws will fall out of the basket.
- Put the metal straws in straight side up. This maximizes the water going into the straw.
- Use only natural dishwasher detergent. This avoids the chemical residues left on your dishes and in the straws from the bigger brand dishwashing detergents. I also avoid rinsing agents too. But if your water is really hard, get something natural. No need to be consuming undisclosed chemicals and our lakes and rivers don’t need them either.*
- One can wash silicone straws like this. Not sure about bamboo. The extra heat and water may cause the organic material to deteriorate faster than with hand washing.
- Voila. Clean enough straws to use again.
- *Please note when I switched to a more natural cleaning detergent, I soaked my cutlery right after use esp if I were not going to run a load of dishes right away. If I did not do this, the food would dry and harden on the cutlery and would not necessary wash off. See my picture below…ugly containers because they are recycled but does the job. I add a little vinegar to the water in the containers to keep them smelling fresh. Bonus is your cutlery is pre sorted. Keep them sorted as you put them into the individual baskets. This makes it much easier to put them into the drawer once washed. Remember to put the spoons and forks facing up (cleans better) and knives always pointed downwards. I was once at a party where the hostess bent over to get some dishes out of dishwasher and cut her eye brow on a knife that was pointed up. I had to sew her up(!)
- Addendum – After a few weeks, a sharp knife put a hole in my plastic container- now I am using a recycled large glass pickle jar for the knives