Business Insider Edition

I only drank water out of pasta straws for a week, and restaurants should be using them as an alternative to plastic

Samantha Grindell , Business Insider US
 Nov 02, 2019, 09:57 AM
Pasta is the next big thing when it comes to alternative straws.
Samantha Grindell
  • Pasta straws are the latest eco-friendly alternative to the traditional plastic options. Noodles are biodegradable, so you can compost them when you're finished with your drink.
  • I decided to try using pasta straws for a week to see if they were worth the hype.
  • In my experience, the straws worked for drinking water, but I didn't like the results when I used one with my iced coffee.
  • I think they're a great alternative to plastic or paper straws in restaurants, but I'd prefer to use a reusable metal straw on a day-to-day basis.
  • For more stories go to

Pasta straws are the latest eco-friendly alternative to hit the market.

With bans on plastic straws going into effect around the US, many consumers are looking to eco-friendly alternatives like paper or metal.

But pasta noodles are also becoming a popular option, with companies like The Amazing Pasta Straw and Stroodles selling noodles you can use for drinking.

Because it's made from food, a pasta straw is biodegradable, so you could compost it after you use it rather than creating waste. The only drawback is that you can't use them with hot drinks, since warm water causes the pasta to become mushy.

After hearing about them, I decided to try using a pasta straw for a week.

Samantha Grindell

The experiment only had one rule: any time I wanted to use a straw, I had to use a noodle straw rather than a plastic, paper, or metal option.

I decided to use an actual noodle rather than one of the retail pasta straws.

Samantha Grindell

To get started, I stocked up on bucatini noodles since they had the most straw-like shape.

An actual pasta straw would be slightly thicker, but the bucatini still worked. A pack cost me less than $2.

My initial assessment was that the noodle worked, but only for a limited amount of time.

Samantha Grindell

When I first started sipping my water with my pasta straw, I was pleased. It worked well, and it didn't make my drink taste like pasta, which I had been concerned about.

But after about 45 minutes of use, I couldn't use the straw anymore because the water had caused it to lose its shape.

After about 45 minutes, the noodle started to get soggy, causing it to bend at the bottom.

Samantha Grindell

The sogginess was a bit annoying, but I just threw the noodle away and replaced it with a fresh one.

The pack I bought came with 50 noodles, so I didn't have to worry about running out.

But the sogginess didn't deter me from use. I continued to sip water from the straws throughout the week.

Samantha Grindell

I like to drink a lot of water, so I was going through between three to five straws per day at work.

After a few days, I decided to test out the pasta straws with different beverages, so I used one to drink my iced latte.

Samantha Grindell

I wanted to see how the straw worked with another beverage, and my iced latte seemed like a good candidate.

I was able to drink the coffee, but it was harder to sip than water because it had a thicker consistency. But as I mentioned, the pasta straws sold from retailers are wider, so that likely wouldn't be an issue if you bought the real deal.

Something in the latte caused the straw to disintegrate, which meant that I could no longer use it.

Samantha Grindell

After about 10 minutes, I noticed it was getting more difficult to drink my latte, and I started to detect a faint pasta taste. (Pasta and coffee aren't a great combination, in case you were wondering.)

I looked at the straw and realised it was falling apart, so I would no longer be able to use it to drink my beverage.

I pulled the straw out, but chunks of the pasta noodle mixed with my coffee remained on the cup.

Samantha Grindell

The mush left on the cup was gross, so I quickly went to recycle the lid. But as I removed it, I realised the plastic cup I was using was still hurting the environment, and simply using a pasta straw didn't make that reality go away.

As much as alternatives to plastic straws can help reduce waste, there has to be a cultural shift to reusable alternatives for all plastic products if we really want to make a difference.

Despite the trouble with my coffee, I continued to use the pasta straws with water throughout the week.

Samantha Grindell

The pasta continued to work for water, and I felt good about pairing them with reusable cups.

However, it was still a bit inconvenient that I had to use a new straw every 45 minutes.

My final takeaway: Pasta straws would be a great alternative to plastic or paper for restaurants, but I'd prefer to use a metal straw in my day-to-day.

Samantha Grindell

I was surprised and impressed by how well the pasta straws worked, and I liked how cheap it was to get a pack. However, it was frustrating to have to swap out a new one every hour, and I could only use it with water, so I'd prefer to stick to metal straws.

Although I won't be switching to the alternative for day-to-day use, I think pasta straws would be a great fit for restaurants since people would only be using them for a short amount of time. Plus, they're cost-effective.

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