Sipping a nice cup of coffee on your way to class is one of the fun things about college. Nothing can change that, right? Well, when it comes to the SNU coffee shop, there has been a slight change in the way you sip: paper straws. Ultimately, they are better for the environment, but even then there are many mixed feelings when it comes to paper straws on campus.
According to Nancy Owens, SNU coffee shop supervisor, paper straws are new to the coffee shop. When asked about when the change took effect, Owens says “It’s been phasing out the last year and a half. I was able to continue to get plastic straws until the beginning of this semester.”
On the question of whether this was a decision of SNU or Starbucks, Owens says, “Starbucks changed their policy. They are no longer making plastic straws at all, it is 100% paper.”
Linda Smith, a marketing major at SNU, gave her opinion of paper straws. Smith says that after a while “the straws have a chalky and soggy feeling.” When asked about the environmental effect these straws have, Smith says, “I believe that they are good for the environment but I also believe we should use metal straws instead of paper or plastic because they are reusable.”
There are many different pros and cons of paper straws. Some pros of paper straws are that they are composed of eco-friendly materials, making them more biodegradable than plastic straws and they are also fairly cheaper to produce. The biggest con of paper straws is that they quickly become softer in your drink, making them not as functional as a plastic straw.
Owens also gave her opinion of the paper straws saying “It’s no big deal, I use them every day and it’s just not a problem. I’m glad they are doing it for the environment for so many reasons.”
If a paper straw doesn’t suit your needs, there are other straw alternatives that are eco-friendly. Metal straws are reusable, durable, and easy to clean. Many of these straws come with a convenient cleaning brush that is also environmentally friendly. If you want more of a softer option, silicone straws are super flexible and longer-lasting compared to most straws. Surprisingly, they work with all types of different drinks, not just boba.
Whatever you decide to choose, know that these decisions you make will affect the environment one step at a time.