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5 Reasons to Switch From Plastic Straws to Glass Straws

replace your plastic straws with glass ones

Kids like straws, and it is actually good for their oral motor development and speech articulation to use them.  As a green parent, I hate plastic straws.

They can’t be recycled, they are used one time, and they are a waste of resources.  I have purchased the thicker plastic kind before and attempted to wash them, but it is impossible to get them entirely clean.  I can only imagine what germs you would see if you cut one open and put it under a microscope!  Plastic straws can’t go in the dishwasher, or they melt or release toxic chemicals, and who knows about BPA in straws?  I have finely found the eco-alternative to the plastic straw:   GLASS!

Glass Dharma’s David Leonhardt’s mission is to “Save the Planet – 1 straw at a time”.

Here are five reasons why you should switch from plastic straws to glass ones:

  1. Glass Dharma’s straws are handmade in the USA (Fort Bragg, CA)
  2. Glass doesn’t leak toxins into your beverages
  3. Glass straws are dishwasher safe making them easy to clean and sterilize
  4. Glass Dharma straws are guaranteed for life against breakage
  5. Glass straws won’t end up in our oceans as part of of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Glassblower David Leonhardt explains the importance of switching from plastic to glass straws:

I immediately recognized that here was a partial solution to our “plastics problem”.  Now, granted, there are a lot more plastics in our world than just drinking straws, but bear with me a minute and let me put things in perspective …

As of March 2008, McDonald’s serves an average of 52 million meals PER DAY!  (Per their website) How many of those served do you think were given a plastic straw?  I hope it is becoming obvious just how big of a problem these pesky little plastic straws can be.  Remember, this is just from McDonalds!!  Get the picture??

These glass straws are so sturdy that I don’t worry about my young children breaking them. I also feel good I can put them in the dishwasher for sterilizing, and they are clear and easy to see that they really are clean.  I highly recommend your family switches from plastic to glass straws.


  1. To this day I remember my sister, then about 8 years old, drinking from a glass which cracked, leaving jagged glass at her lips. Why did this happen? Because she had a strange habit of putting her teeth on the glass when she drank. Many kids put their teeth on straws, regardless of how you warn them. Kids will be kids. I would never recommend glass straws for children.

  2. That is a good point Allison. I remember chewing on straws as a child, but I can’t imagine trying to bite a glass one. I guess supervision is needed!

  3. Sorry, this sounds like a really bad idea. I’m all for glass cups, but a straw, being long and thin, seems like a high-risk item to break. Cracking a cup and cutting your lip is bad, but snapping off a straw in your mouth could be deadly. If you insist on giving your kid a straw and don’t want to use plastic, I bet you could find bamboo or aluminum ones.

  4. I am not sure how I feel about the glass straws either. My boys are rough on things and that would be a horrible accident if one were to break in their mouths. We don’t use straws here, but your post does have me thinking about the alternatives.

  5. Grma Cheri says:

    My Grandbaby has been drinking from the Glass Straws from the glassdharma website as he learns to drink from sippy cups. I don’t give them to him to play with but they are much more durable than I thought and stay out on my counter and the older kids help themselves without supervision. Along with concerns for our enviroment about plastics never breaking down in landfills, I am reading so much about chemical leaching from plastics and the possible effects. There is a controvesly about how harmful these chemicals MIGHT be to our health – no brainer for me! I believe teaching my children how to handle glass is in their best interest, but there are stainless steel straws avaiable for those that have the glass breakage fear. There is also some good information called “the glass difference” in the glassdharma website that explains the process of “borosilicate glass” and the annealing process that strengthens it more and why these straws are soooo sturdy.

  6. I think these are great. I’ve used glass straws in the past, and they’re really difficult to break. Comparing glass straws with glass cups is like comparing apples and oranges. Just because they’re both fruit, doesn’t make them the same.

  7. Pete Miller says:

    That’s fabulas you tree hug’n soccor moms, flood the streets with crack pipes. HELLO! THAT’S WHAT CRACK PIPES ARE!!! GLASS TUBES!!!!

    If you weren’t so blinded by your Emperors’ New Clothes complex (GREEN LUVING,OBAMA VOTE’N, WHALE HUGGIN IDEALISTIC GOODIE TWO SHOES)and could actually think for yourself, you might see things logically.

    Take your brain back and pull yourself out of the politically correct rectum of the pop culture.

    You could not live one single day without all the items in our daily lives that come from the oil and gas industry. There are virtually thousands of items that you use daily or see daily that come from oil and gas. There may be specific items that aren’t, but I garuntee that somewhere in the manufacuring of that item is used a process (machine) that has parts made from oil.

    Becareful what you wish for! YOU JUST MIGHT GET IT!!

    Tampon applicators are plastic. Maxy pad adhesive comes from oil. Lipstick, foundation, diapers, sippy cups, tires, scrunchy elastic, non-stick cookware and their utensiles, rubber bands etc. etc. etc.


  8. Guess what? You are right that lots of things are made from plastic and are necessary. Which is why I find it so important to NOT use things that are made from plastic that are either not necessary or for which there is a not-plastic alternative. This includes glass straws for my family.

    My five year old son uses his all the time. And, he throws it on the floor on occasion too. This isn’t a glass straw like your window-pane, it’s more like a pyrex straw. I cannot imagine it breaking. The Glass Dharma straws are incredibly sturdy and safe. Give them a try.

    And remember, life isn’t all or nothing. Don’t use that as an excuse to make no efforts or changes at all. Instead, do what you can! Enjoy yourself! Don’t freak out because someone else is making a good change.

    • VERY well said, Maya! Some people are just plain envious of those who have the zeal that they themselves lack to make changes toward a healthier lifestyle, even in areas as small as this one! 2 thumbs up for sharing and coming back with a respectful response to a mean-spirited one!!

  9. I remember glass straws as a child, then they became hard to find due to the breakage issue. Now, they are made much stronger, and I believe they are every bit as safe as, say, drinking from a delicate crystal liqueur glass. So, they are probably not ideal for very young children but they are wonderful for older children and, of course, adults.

    In the meantime, I also have a set of sterling silver drinking straws. Safe, and a great and very elegant alternative for children and others.

  10. Elizabeth L. says:

    Ho hum, Pete Miller. Your post might even be taken seriously if you could spell. Thanks to spell-check, there are no excuses for such sloppiness.
    Unfortunately, the possibility of readers believing you might actually have an intelligent comment to make is lost once they encounter “soccor”; garuntee”; “utensiles”, and the multiple typos and other ignorant-appearing writing in your post.
    You are a typical product of the style-is-irrelevant generation. It is a shame, because you might actually have a brain and some good points. Too bad the really educated people will never bother to listen to you or take you seriously.

    • tashmom says:

      I am a little disappointed in the nature of your comment. I am absolutely not arguing to support the content of Pete Miller’s comment. However, to counter his opinion based on spelling is not the point of a true discussion. I teach third graders and absolutely understand that a person’s struggle with spelling is not a reflection of intellect. Spelling is based on patterns and visual memory (not necessarily visual learning–a different entity,) not intellect or aptitude. Just like some of Pete Miller’s contents shouldn’t have degraded glass straw supporters and labeled their politics as a flaw of the subject matter (glass straws and their safety.) It is equally impertinent to the discussion for you to devalue his beliefs based on an external factor.

  11. melissa lewis says:

    i use cloth pads, and a silicon Diva cup! cloth diapers, and duh rubber and stretchy fabrics are made with latex which comes from trees! this is a life style for my family, not a fad. my son is 9 yrs old and we used cloth everything before it was trendy.

    i think you are right, there are TONS of things that we use everyday that use oil, gas, plastic and we don’t even know it (i’m on a computer right:) i drive a regular minivan… i don’t make things hard on myself (sometimes we use paper plates…) but i try to not be lazy, and to raise my kids with the habits of using re-usable items instead of disposible everything… (they sell disposible wash cloths for bath time with soap in them already… it just blows my mind that someone would rather pay money for this then just use a plain old wash cloth! ) we use regular toilet paper, not re-usable cloths, but i know families who DO!

    we all just want to do what is best for your family, i don’t preach this stuff to other people we just like doing things this way ( we have a reel mower this year, and man it sure beats puling that dang cord, and listening to a mower run for an hour while we mow the lawn, and it doesn’t have stinky fumes, or have engine breakdowns… we only paid $100 for it on amazon….

  12. There will be very little water getting into the core of the straw. Hardly sterilizing. Not that it’s a big deal, but don’t think everything you put in a dishwasher gets “clean”.

    Also the energy consumed in making a glass straw is significantly higher than a plastic one. How much, I’m not sure, but it’s not a 1 to 1 thing. The energy needed to make a glass straw would be boxes of plastic ones.


  13. sirs: I need info on glass straws – diameter/price. Thanks, DLM

  14. I have used some glass straws and they are awsome, it does take some pressure to break them, we have tested it… I let my 2 and 3 year old try em out but they didnt like the fact that it didnt bend. I think they are more for parties and such. It would be nice if they sold decorative ones and different colors..

  15. Hmmm – I am amazed at how negative people can be – concerns over glass straws? I would pay more attention to what is ingested – kids are drinking colas (poison), sugar (poison), white bread, white pasta, energy drinks (how the FDA allows sugar and caffeine to be called energy is beyond me) and all the other garbage parents feed their kids should be their # 1 concern.

    Hurray to glass straws – just tell little Johnny and little Jane not to bite the glass straw because it will cut your mouth (I think they will get it). If you give a 2 – 4 year old a glass straw then who is the fool.

    Congrats on a great idea.


  16. Why not make the old time paper drinking straws? Much simpler since you only use them once

  17. I agree that today’s straws are much more durable than the straws made of less durable glass; as was the case years ago. As one reader mentioned, pyrex glass straws don’t break when dropped on a hard surface. I agree with another comment that said if there is an alternative to plastic, we should use it. Glass straws would qualify here. The risk to children is always present in life – unless they are properly looked after.

  18. Glass straws are alright, kind of expensive, and can break when you wash them in the sink or the dishwasher. What about using biodegradable straws? You get to enjoy both worlds: you don’t harm the Earth, and kids aren’t being exposed to plastic particles.

  19. To Pete Miller: OK, Mr. Conservative-Tea Party-Sarah Palin loving-right wing extremist, so what’s so wrong about being green, loving whales, being idealistic and goodie two shoes? Why bring politics into this at all (I’m only doing it because you started it)? I don’t understand why some people hate those who care for people and things beyond their narrow little world, who are not consumed with selfishness and greed, who actually give a darn about the planet we live in and its creatures, and who are good hearted people. It’s a good vs. evil thing to me. And you know who always wins out in the end. So continue to spew forth your hate filled vitriol to your fellow nutjobs who will listen because as the other poster above so eloquently described it, the logical, educated, caring people in this world (who contrary to what you may be used to, are probably in the majority) will just ignore your manic ramblings. As well they should.

  20. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using glass straws. In fact, I think it’s a pretty good idea – I just got some (from Strawesome.com) and I think they’re really cool.

    As far as getting sterilized in the dishwasher – I got a cleaning brush with mine, and running that through it while rinsing dishes before putting them in the dishwasher helps ensure that they’re clean.

    My husband put them in the silverware drawer in the same compartment as the steak knives, not knowing I had a place for them in a pretty cup on the counter – and they were totally fine.

    It’s hard to describe their feel… it doesn’t feel like glass, not even like a glass cup in your mouth – I can’t really explain it. But it’s cool. :)

  21. I can see your point about glass straws being cleaner than plastic straws. But plastic straws are a dime a dozen, and fast food restaurants that liberally hand them out would go broke if they started handing out glass straws. I’m wondering if there’s any other suitable material these could be made out of besides glass or plastic? To be honest I can’t think of any off the top of my head.

  22. Hi Jennifer,

    What a great site you have. It really hit home when you were talking about plastic straws just to even imagine how many bacteria live in them. Horrible. Thanks for writing this article i am going to look into buying a set of glass straws. And also for David Leonhardt’s link above.


  23. Glass straws can be lovely for adults and OLDER children…… ONLY, PERIOD! and overall, they are certainly not practical nor safe for children:

    EYES: Eyes are delicate, glass straws are NOT flexible … they are rigid, immobile rods (albeit with holes through them) and anything that extends beyond the cup’s edge is potential for a poked eye…. as mentioned in prior posts, glass straws are also brittle and have potential for chips, shards, in the mouth area, etc. NO amount of adult supervision can ensure total safety for children with glass or hard rod-like objects. ~PERIOD. DO NOT THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND WITH YOUR CHILDREN”S HEALTH AND SAFETY, FOR GOODNESS SAKES>~! Certainly let them TRY the straws if you own them and allow them supervised use for SPECIAL occasions (they ARE unique and lovely), but DON’T LET THEM USE THEM ON A CONSISTENT BASIS until they are grown.

    And if you really ARE environmentally, globally conscious… well, you REALLY, TRULY DON’T NEED STRAWS at ALL…. unless for convenience if you are using soda cans, bottles, etc etc and that brings us back to what is contradictory because those things are BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT and most contain harmful ingredients (sugar being #1 as the most common and addictive ingredient)! And if you justify their use because of “spills”, well then, you are not “supervising” your children now, are you!? (My point is you can’t ALWAYS be !).

    My suggestion is for consciencious parents to PAY MORE ATTENTION to what is IN a child’s drinking cup and NOT PAY more $ for silly frivolities to drink with because society says you need it…. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO DRINK FROM A CUP ~~ it’s been done for eons and there really is no need for straws IF YOU ARE ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS…. again, civilization did just fine bringing up children without drinking straws for decades…. geesh!

    Also, straws really are NOT sanitary nor practical unless you are willing to wash each one by hand and rinse in HOT water, directing the water down the tubes (because of the narrow area, it has the potential to collect bacteria and ‘crud’ if you just plop them in the dishwasher silverware holder) and paying attention to wash around the mouth pieces and , again, THAT TAKES MORE RESOURCES with HOT WATER AND SOAP.

    Also, realize that using straws can contribute to wrinkles around the mouth area… with long term use, your children will eventually grow up with deep furrows around their mouths and subsequently resent you for making them wrinkly, haha…. (hey, I’m just sayin).


    Speaking of children, and glass, it appears some bloggers consider themselves to be adults as well as “intelligent” and “world conscious” yet behave quite childishly with name calling and backlashing! Perhaps we all may practice being kinder to the PEOPLE ON the planet earth and remember we are ALL DIFFERENT with different and varying opinions and we can ALL LEARN FROM ONE ANOTHER, especially IF we treat each other respectfully and LISTEN to one another ~ one and ALL, EVERYONE!

    Finally, perhaps the conclusive moral is….those who are childish should not drink from glass straws and those living in glass houses (ie. our fragile society) should not be throwing proverbial stones at one another! AND if THAT message gets across, then this article about glass straws was a SUPERB one in many respects! :)



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