Friday, March 2, 2012

Alternatives to Disposables - Reusable straw review and giveaway

Glass Dharma giving away 1,000 free glass straws for Earth Day

This is the "beautiful bendy"
and it's the straw I am
currently drinking from. 
Last month, I taped a live segment with the More Good Day Oregon program entitled "Green On The Go." I already had most of the reusable items that I wanted to display in my personal inventory. One item I hadn't ever invested in, though, was a reusable straw. I contacted a company here in the states that makes reusable glass straws, Glass Dharma and they sent me a few straws to highlight on the show and to try out. Work and a whole mess of other obligations prevented me from actually trying the straws until yesterday. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. For me, it was as if I had been trying to cut a steak with a plastic knife my whole life and suddenly someone gave me a real steak knife to eat my food with. The experience didn't leave me speechless or anything, but I was struck by how much I enjoyed drinking from a glass straw. This might sound a little strange, but they feel really good in your mouth. You can feel the temperature of your beverage and the end is smooth, not like a plastic straw.

To be honest, before the segment, I hadn't given much thought to straws. I have been slowly removing disposable items from my life and trying to replace them with reusable alternatives, but I didn't have any strong feelings/thoughts about straws, yet. Since the segment, I've been thinking a lot more about straws. Just like the steak knife, this is what straws should be! When choosing between disposables and durables, I have yet to find an instance where the following doesn't hold true: durables are more elegant, nicer to use and well, more durable than their disposable counterparts. I know we all love the convenience of disposable products, but the fact remains these items aren't very convenient to our planet. Even if the disposable is able to be recycled (which is rarely the case) there are still a lot of resources that went into creating this item that we use and then immediately throw out.

If you'd like to try out a glass straw, Glass Dharma is giving away 1,000 of them this Earth Day. You can submit an essay of 100-200 words or a short YouTube clip. Easy peasy!

Don't be discouraged if these new habits take awhile to form. I've changed my habits for: bags, to-go containers and cups but it seems to take me, on average, about a year to create each new habit. I won't say I'm proud of that, but I seem to have trouble with:

  • Remember to have the item with me 
  • Take it in to the store or restaurant
  • Remember to ask the cashier or wait staff for no disposables
  • Actually use what I brought with me. 
I've screwed up the process at every one of these steps in the past, but eventually I get it and it becomes second nature. Habits are hard to break, but the enjoyment of using a better product that you're not just going to throw away is well worth it, in my opinion. The perceived inconvenience is far outweighed by the quality of the durable products, and the glass straw is just the latest product to convince me of that.

Lastly, here's an interesting infographic from that talks about some of the problems with our constant purchasing of disposable products. I thought it was interesting, perhaps you will too.

Happy Waste Reduction!
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