Bamboo vs. Paper Straws | 11 Similarities and Differences

Every year, millions of pounds of plastic straws are sent to landfill, where they can take up to 300 years to disintegrate. Unfortunately, some of this plastic also ends up in our waterways, where it can wreak havoc on marine life.

If you’re interested in finding straws that are less harmful to the environment, you have two good options: bamboo and paper. Let’s have a look at both of these in more detail.

Similarities Between Bamboo and Paper Straws

Both bamboo and paper straws are reusable and recyclable. If you’re trying to decide between these two types of straws, here are a few of their similarities to consider:

  1. They can be recycled
  2. They will disintegrate in landfills
  3. They are both smooth and comfortable to use
  4. There are no health risks to using either bamboo or paper straws

Differences Between Bamboo and Paper Straws

Now let’s take a look at a few of the ways bamboo and paper straws are different:

  1. Their costs are different: 5–12 cents each for paper straws versus 40 cents each for bamboo straws
  2. The number of uses: you can use a paper straw 2–3 times, but a bamboo straw can be used up to 200 times
  3. Paper straws use chlorine, bleach, and lots of water when being manufactured; bamboo straws are 100% organic
  4. Paper straws only hold their shape for a short time; bamboo straws keep their shape much longer if you care for them properly
  5. Bamboo straws can handle hot drinks; sometimes, paper straws dissolve when used for drinking hot drinks
  6. Bamboo straws are dishwasher-safe; the same is not true for paper straws
  7. Both bamboo straws and paper straws are more expensive than plastic straws, even though the per-use cost might be lower

Bamboo and paper straws

The bottom line is, using either bamboo or paper straws is much more eco-friendly than using plastic straws, and if you do your due diligence, you can decide which one of these is best for you.

Keep in mind that bamboo is sustainable and is replenished very quickly because it grows very fast, whereas paper straws are made from tree pulp. Trees including pine will take much longer to grow than bamboo and need to be cut down for use.

Bamboo can be harvested over and over again as it grows technically as a grass. Stems are removed one by one and the plant can continue to grow.

For environmental reasons bamboo product are fantastic because bamboo grows fast, with minimal pesticides and the bamboo products are biodegradable.

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Today’s business owners are aware of how many unrecyclable materials they throw out every year, and they are doing lots of little things that together make a big difference.

One of these things is replacing plastic straws with paper straws. When paper straws are sent to a landfill, they can decompose in several days to several weeks, not hundreds of years like plastic straws.

Bamboo straws are a little unique, and in fact, a lot of people don’t even know they exist. These are smooth, comfortable straws that people love as soon as they use them the first time.

Since they can be used up to 200 times when you take care of them properly, people can keep them for months or even years, and when they finally do wear out, all you have to do is throw them in the trash can or deliver them to a recycling center.

They are truly a great way to use straws daily in a guilt-free way.

Are paper or bamboo straws better?

In the end, it’s up to you to decide between bamboo and paper straws. There are many similarities and differences between the two, but let’s face it, they are both far more sustainable and eco-friendly than plastic straws.

Some experts even believe that plastic straws never fully disintegrate and that they can leak small amounts of chemicals into the soil and even into our waterways before they finally disappear entirely.

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With bamboo or paper straws, that is never going to be a problem because they do not release harmful chemicals into the environment as they break down.

When you’re trying to decide between paper and bamboo straws, you need to consider how they’re manufactured, how long they last, what happens once they’re thrown away, and their cost before you make your final decision.

The bottom line is that many of these things are unimportant to a lot of people. If this applies to you, you can just consider other things, such as what each of the straws looks like and how they feel when you use them.

Paper straws can be quite decorative in some cases and may be very colorful, whereas bamboo straws tend to be a neutral color and look similar to real bamboo. Fun colors are important to a lot of people, but if you don’t care what your straws look like, you’ll still have many other features to consider when you are trying to make your decision.

When it comes to saving the environment, bamboo straws do offer a few advantages over paper straws, but both of them are still much better than using plastic straws, whose only advantage seems to be that they are very inexpensive.


If you care about the environment and you’re interested in switching from single-use plastic straws to reusable straws, both paper and bamboo straws are great items to consider. They are both sustainable, compostable, and look great.

Their manufacturing processes tend to use fewer resources than the process for making plastic straws, and while their per-straw cost is higher than that of plastic straws, you have to keep in mind that you can use them multiple times, unlike plastic straws that are usually thrown away after only one use.

Both of these straw types can also have a rather “cool” look if you love the all-natural look, but of course, their main advantage is the fact that you are keeping plastic straws out of the landfill, and this is always a good thing.