OMG. Don’t even get me started! Too late!
I like the concept of straws in that you’re not putting your mouth on the same surface as everyone else who had a drink in a restaurant. However, what a waste of plastic, and what kind of plastic is it anyway? It was this thinking that led me to buy my first reusable straws — stainless steel ones from Kegworks — many years ago, when my son drank the majority of his drinks out of straws. They are sturdy and will probably last a lifetime, but I really don’t like to drink out of stainless steel.
Last week, I found a very sturdy glass straw at One Lucky Duck. It’s made by Glass Dharma, and it seems like it will last a long time. I got the bendy straw. Yes, they have carrying cases, but I would think a large toothbrush holder would be fine, especially if you’ve already got one around the house for travel and you don’t have to go out and buy new plastic. See, it’s not the plastic itself I am so against, it is the drinking something through plastic.
Speaking of plastic and drinking, disposable take out cups for coffee and tea are lined with something that seems to me like it leaches into the water when the water is very hot. I did a side by side test at a restaurant with drinking tea out of a mug and a take out cup and I could really taste it when I compared it like this. I looked it up and it’s usually a film of polyethylene plastic that gets applied to the inside of paper cups used for hot liquids. I would guess (I have no data on this) that it is bad for you and the leaching is worse when the water is hotter. Avoid take out cups when you can and if you can’t, if you are drinking tea, I would advise you to have the server put ice or cooler water in the cup first, especially if they’re putting boiling hot water in there (tea, especially green tea should be brewed at a much, much lower temperature anyway). I’m not a coffee drinker, but I don’t think you can do this with coffee, because it would mess up the coffee too much – maybe if you put cold milk in the cup first (if you drink milk with your coffee)? Oh, and avoid drinking through one of those take-out lids! They’re usually made from polystyrene, which is not a good thing to have your food packaged in, so it just makes sense not to drink a hot liquid through it.
The original question was about straws, so to get back to the topic, I am very much in favor of reusable straws, especially made of glass, but if you bring your own straw to a restaurant, expect to be considered a freak. I’m ok with that, but I thought it was worth mentioning.