paper straws vs plastic straws


In the oceans of the world, over 10 million tons of plastic are discarded each year. In the USA, there are around 390 million paper straws used daily. That is a substantial sum.

More and more people all over the world prefer to use biodegradable tools for saving the earth. What’s more, several well-known eateries have stopped using plastic straws, including Starbucks, Wagamama, and The Alchemist.

With the expansion of the biodegradable product’s market, there are lots of businessmen moved into this field, and one of the hot-selling products here is paper straws.

In this article, we will discuss the difference between paper straws, plastic straws, and sugarcane straws. And we will also explain for eCommerce sellers about whether it is profitable to sell paper straws online.

Difference Between Paper Straws, Plastic Straws, Sugarcane Straws

Nowadays, some eateries have completely stopped using straws, while others use alternatives like paper straws, sugarcane straws, and other types of straws.

Before starting wholesale, you should know about the differences between them.

Paper Straws vs Plastic Straws

paper straws vs plastic straws

As many restaurants have banned plastic straws they utilize paper straws. One final thing to consider is if paper straws are healthy for the environment. The ecosystem is negatively impacted by paper straws as well.

Paper straws, on the other hand, have some advantages over plastic straws but also some disadvantages. Paper goods require more energy and expensive materials than producing plastic goods.

Due to their much lower durability and potential for biodegradation, paper straws will often still be less damaging than plastic ones.

Sugarcane Straws vs Paper Straws

sugarcane straws vs paper straws

Straws are now also made from plants including bamboo, hay, and sugarcane. This makes sugar cane special since it is a nearly waste-free, highly renewable resource. Since 2018, many businesses have been producing sugarcane straws.

Straws made of sugarcane are completely organic and readily decompose in the environment. Paper and sugarcane straws differ significantly. Because sugarcane is a considerably more environmentally and consumer-friendly option.

paper straws

Because they are more environmentally friendly and their resources are more replenishable than paper straws, sugarcane straws are preferable to paper straws.

Deforestation is required to make paper straws, which is terrible for the environment. Sugarcane straws are more environmentally friendly since they can be planted annually and only take a year to mature as compared to years for trees.

Paper straws employ glue to make them durable, while sugarcane straws use PLA and polylactic acid, which are both environmentally beneficial. Plastics, which are of course bad for the environment, are an ingredient in these glues.

Differences between Paper, Plastic and Sugarcane Straws

Environmental factorsManufacturing processWholesale Price
Plastic strawPlastic straws need less water and less energy than others.
They are non-biodegradable which means one plastic straw need 200 to 1000 years to decompose.
Due to their lower resource requirements, plastic straws require fewer resources to manufacture.
Because they require chemicals to manufacture, they are less expensive to generate.
Cheapest one among those three, that’s why still some places are using plastic straws.
Paper strawThey require more water and energy to manufacture.
Paper straws are a contributor to deforestation because they are made of wood.
Compared to plastic, they pose less of a threat to the environment.
Wood from trees is used in the production of paper straws. The trees are first cut, then they are cut into blocks, and the rest is completed by the machines.They are costly because of the materials needed in their production.
Sugarcane strawThe major factor is that sugarcane straws are biodegradable. In just two months, it can disappear into the environment. Sugarcane straws are most suitable for the environment.The plant is crushed during sugar cane processing to obtain juice for sugar manufacture. The waste product from sugarcane, known as bagasse, is then utilized to make straws.Alibaba offers sugarcane straws for $0.09 to $0.12 per.

Which one is the best? Paper Straws, Plastic Straws, Sugarcane Straws?

Pros and Cons of Plastic Straws


  • Efficient production process

Compared to paper, plastic straws use fewer resources to make and have a more effective manufacturing process. Plastic is made with the help of chemicals. Because of this, they produce goods quickly.

  • Highly durable

The durability of plastic straws has both benefits and drawbacks. Before usage, It will always be brand-new.

  • Lightweight

Straws represent around 4% of plastic waste in terms of weight per piece, but they are significantly lighter. Due to their average weight of one-sixty-seventh of an ounce, or 42 grams, the approximately 9 million tons of plastic waste that reach the ocean each year constitute just about 2,000 tons of straws

b. Cons

  • Take a lifetime to break down

A plastic straw takes more than 200 years to decompose. This means when a plastic straw is dumped into the environment the bacteria and insects cannot decompose them.

  • Non-recyclable

Plastic straw recycling is virtually nil. They’re challenging to recycle. Due to their tiny size, they are easily lost throughout the recycling process. Usually, polypropylene, which cannot be recycled, is used to make plastic straws.

  • Use of chemicals

They employ polypropylene, a dangerous substance also found in our fuel. This substance takes a very long time to break down in the environment. it harms the environment. Polypropylene products float in the ocean and are consumed by animals, which is harmful to earth life.

  • Made from a non-renewable resource

In factories, heating, chilling, and chemical procedures are used to create these straws. This approach is non-renewable. The substance that is utilized to produce straws is only intended for one use.

Pros and Cons of Paper Straws

pros and cons of paper straws

a. Pros

  • Recyclable

As is common knowledge, wood is a recyclable material that is used to make paper. It is simple to replant. Paper straws are recyclable as long as they are made entirely of paper and aren’t contaminated.

In comparison to plastic, it recycles more frequently. However, recycling takes a long time since trees take a long time to grow.

  • Environment conscious

Because they are made from FSC-certified sources and entirely from post-consumer recycled materials, paper straws are also environmentally conscious. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council, which ensures that forests are managed responsibly and meet the strictest social and environmental requirements.

Take six months to decompose

While it may take 200 years for plastic straws to decay, it only takes six months for them to disappear entirely from the environment. paper straws are significantly more environmentally friendly than plastic ones at this ratio.

b. Cons

  • Encourage deforestation

Wood, which comes from trees, is used to make paper. We are all aware of how crucial trees are to our ability to survive.

  • Impact wildlife

There will be a significant impact on wildlife as a result of deforestation. Climate change is a result of deforestation, and it also has an impact on the water supply.

  • Less Durability

Paper straws are not as durable as plastic straws. Especially while drinking water from paper they become soft and begin to damage. Over time the straw becomes thick and soggy.

  • It’s not sustainable in the long term

Paper straws are not sustainable because their production requires a lot of energy and resources, such as water.

Pros and Cons of Sugarcane Straws

a. Pros

  • More sustainable

A sugarcane plant grows to its full size in one year. So this means you can harvest the sugarcane every year. This is far more sustainable than paper straws because trees take years to grow.

Sugarcane straws are also biodegradable which makes them the most eco-friendly straws to date. Paper straws are made of sugarcane bagasse.

  • Won’t get soggy

Sugarcane straws can survive the beverage for several hours they can survive even days in some cases. This will befit the restaurants because if someone wants to refill their drinks they don’t have to change their straws.

In the case of paper straws, you have to change straws on every refill. It will not only help to eliminate more cost it will also prevent waste.

  • Contains no harmful chemicals

As we all know plastic straws contain chemicals that are very harmful to our environment. Sugarcane straws are made of sugarcane bagasse which is very suitable for our environment it will take only 2 to 4 months to decompose a sugarcane straw. The use of PLA and sugarcane made plastic 100 percent plant-based.

What Other Straws I Can Use for Replacing Plastic One?

Bamboo Straws

Straws made of bamboo are also utilized. They are safe for you and beneficial to the environment. Due to their utilization of natural resources, bamboo straws can take the place of plastic ones.

100% natural materials are used in the manufacture of bamboo straws. They are biodegradable as well. In other words, they won’t have an impact on any kind of life on Earth as they degrade.

Bamboo is the most sustainable plant since it doesn’t require replanting and grows quickly compared to other plants. They are also bacterial resistant and simple to clean.

They don’t contain any chemicals at all. Because they are reusable, they are decreasing the “throw-away” culture. This is a fantastic substitute for plastic straws, which are only designed to be used once. With their assistance, waste is reduced.

Mushroom Packaging

mushroom packaging

Packaging for mushrooms is also a great way to use less plastic. Everyone is aware of polystyrene’s dangers to the environment. It is a scarce, polluting, non-renewable, non-sustainable, and quickly diminishing resource.

Mycelium is allowed to grow around clean agricultural wastes, such as maize stalks and husks, to produce mushrooms. The waste is bound together by the fungus’ fibers to form a solid structure over a few days.

Then it is dried to stop it from spreading further. Since the discovery of mushroom packaging in 2006, several global corporations have started employing it.

Seaweed Packaging

seaweed packaging

To save world from plastic pollution, edible packaging is produced by professionals. Edible packaging can be eaten with the item it is protecting.

For example, seaweed is employed as edible packaging. It is loaded with vitamins and fiber. Seaweeds are also biodegradable. Businesses have utilized seaweed to make readily eatable packaging that resembles plastic.

Although seaweed straws resemble plastic straws, there are no drawbacks to eating or discarding them in the trash. The US uses 500 million plastic straws per day, but with the help of seaweed packaging businesses, we can reduce this number.

Sugarcane Straws

As we mentioned before, the most environmentally friendly straws are made from sugarcane. Sugarcane is used to make sugarcane straws. It is a source that is very renewable. 

Furthermore, there was absolutely no environmental harm from these straws. Many businesses create processes to turn that bagasse into straws. After obtaining the bagasse, the firm turns the bagasse into straws. These straws resemble plastic ones in many ways.

Metal Straws

metal straws

Metal straws are reusable, stainless steel is used to make metal straws. This steel is very strong, chemical-free, rust-proof, scratch-proof, and completely recyclable. Copper straws fall within this group as well. Metal straws are quite safe.

Because 70 percent of the plastic garbage generated worldwide cannot be recycled, it is crucial to utilize reusable straws. The main benefit of buying metal straws is that you can use them for a very long time and therefore save money. However, for some restaurants, we don’t suggest you give customers metal straws for cleaning.

Glass Straws

glass straws

Similar with metal straws, glass straws can be used again and again. At home, glass straws are often used. It is transparent and simple to clean. They don’t resemble any other straws in appearance.

Glass straws are easy to break, so we recommend children don’t use them only adults or responsible teens use them. If glass straws break in your mouth the resulting shard can be very dangerous.

However, glass straws are perfect for people with sensitive teeth. borosilicate glass is used for manufacturing glass straws. borosilicate glass is never recycled.


How paper straws are better than plastic straws?

Paper straws are preferable to plastic ones because they pose less of a threat to the environment. Plastic straw is made of dangerous chemicals that pose a risk to animals and are not biodegradable for decades. Although there are problems with paper straws as well, plastic straw problems are much more harmful.

How long will paper straws, sugarcane straws, and plastic straws last?

Paper straws stay in the environment for around 2 to 6 months, whereas plastic straws last 200 years, which is a terrible amount of time.

Plastic straws contain chemicals that may have an impact on the environment. The longest-lasting and healthiest straw now in use on earth is made of sugarcane, which lasts for two to four months.

Which straw is usable for hot drinks?

Glass straws are elegant-looking and can be utilized to drink hot water. Both hot and cold water is sustainably produced by them. Unlike plastic straws, they don’t wrap while drinking hot water.

Other straws, such as paper straws, are likewise ineffective for drinking hot beverages since they will squish and rip apart when used to consume hot liquids.

What are sugarcane straws made of?

Sugarcane straws are made of the sugarcane substance called “bagasse”. Bagasse is the leftover sugarcane after peeling its water off.

Repurposing sugarcane fibers as straws makes use of a waste product that would otherwise go to waste. We cannot eat sugarcane straws but they can decompose pretty quickly as compared to plastic straws.

What type of straw is better for our environment?

All straws that use renewable materials and break down quickly in the environment are better for the environment. For instance, bamboo straws’ resources are largely renewable, and plants develop quickly without fertilizer.

The list can also include edible straws because they don’t pollute the environment as well. Reusable straws are also beneficial for the environment because they don’t need to be discarded after each usage. They are durable, which results in less waste and less harm to the environment.


The distinctions between paper straws, sugarcane straws, and plastic straws are covered in this article. We all understand that plastic straws are bad for the environment. It takes millennia for chemicals to break down and disseminate across the ecosystem, which can cause a variety of ailments.

We must cease using plastic straws if we hope to solve this issue. Search for eco-friendly straws. Stop providing straws to your consumers. Only provide straws in response to specific client requests.

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