Plastic straws are used in vast quantities around the world daily. The U.S alone accounts for 390 million plastic straws being used every single day. A rare few restaurants and cafes have moved to cardboard straws, which are not a fan favourite but slightly better for the environment.
If you are using plastic straws at home, look at getting yourself one of the alternatives like metal glass or bamboo straw. These are far far better for the environment.
How to properly recycle straws
Recycling plastic straws is actually not sustainably possible. This means that in order to dispose of plastic straws they will end up mainly in landfill. These straws will sit in landfill for hundreds if not thousands you years, polluting the surrounding area. When considering a sustainable way to use straws, the best option is to not use plastic ones at all. Opt for a more sustainable reusable straw.
Plastic straws are technically recyclable. However, the recycling centre that the straws end up in need to be able to process type 5 plastic, also known as polypropylene. The issue is also that because of their flexible nature, they get stuck in most recycling machines and don't properly get recycled. Combined with the fact that the output of recycled straws can't be used for many products, makes recycling straws not really an option.
If you are looking to recycle your plastic straws, you can contact your local recycling centre and see if they have the ability to properly process type 5 plastics and take them there.
Can you reuse a plastic straw?
It's not recommended to reuse plastic straws for drinking/eating. The thin design is a perfect habitat for bacteria to grow. Even if you plan on cleaning the straw, the plastic used will slowly wear away over time. This can lead to plastic leaking into your drink or food.
If you are going to reuse the straw, you're better off reusing it for fun crafts projects. Or they can also be used as splints to keep plants up right.
Overall plastic straws are very well known to be extremely bad for the environment. Try to avoid using them at all if possible. Disposing of them sustainably is difficult, but some places are able to recycle them. Make sure to purchase a one of the many different reusable straws now on the market, to do your bit in combatting the plastic straw crisis.