Protect the oceans (and your teeth!).
Looking to cut back on your plastic straw use? Eliminating the bendy little tubes from your daily iced coffee or green juice routine is a really doable way to make a difference: You'll be helping to reduce the staggering amount of plastic waste flowing into our oceans. (Cities like Seattle and companies like Starbucks are nixing plastic straws too.)
By 2050, sea-born plastic is predicted to outweigh fish, according to a report by the World Economic Forum. Aside from harming marine life (remember that heartbreaking viral sea turtle video?), plastic waste is also a risk to human health: it breaks down into micro-particles that then travel up the food chain, along with the toxins they attract and absorb.
Luckily, there are plenty of eco-friendlier sipping devices to choose from. We've rounded up four solid reusable straws below, as well as two non-plastic disposable options that work well for parties and picnics.
But first, a word of caution about keeping reusable straws clean: Since they are a new trend, there isn't much info yet about the best ways to handle and store them. There have been some reports of mold inside straws; and straws can be an ideal place for bacteria to build up. Always make sure to clean reusable straws according to the brand's instructions. Then dry them in an upright position to allow moisture to drain out.
Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.