If you are in Taiwan, remember to purchase reusable straws. In a couple days the nation-wide ban on plastic straws will begin. A few business have already started banning straws and other single use plastics.
Metal straws are a green alternative to the plastic straw. You can find metals straws in many shops in Taiwan but they are very affordable from wet market vendors. Prices vary between 20NT for a single metal straw to 100NT for packs of different straw options. We have metal straws in different sizes, and of course the necessary boba size! My favorite straws are the short ones because they are the perfect size for kids cups and adult cocktails. I also like this zoku telescopic straw that comes with a carrying case.
A greener alternative are bamboo straws if they are made without chemicals. I found one shop during my 3 months in Taiwan that sells bamboo straws. They even have a boba size bamboo straw! This is the first shop along Yingge Old Street. You can recognize the store by all the bamboo products displayed out front. These are great because they are reusable and come with a cleaning brush. When the straw is no longer usable you can toss it in your compost. A San Francisco based boba company has developed the first single use bamboo fiber straw. Although still single-use, it’s a step in the right direction.
Of course the greenest option is to stop using straws altogether. I’m still searching for a way to go straw-less with boba and smoothies, but I think this is a great start for our planet!
Another way to be earth conscious is to stop accepting plastic bags. It’s hard to avoid in Taiwan. Sometimes vendors give you a plastic bag in a bag. I take out my item and hand the bag back to them, getting crazy looks in return. Ha, ha! I would actually get into arguments with my mom about this issue. A single 15 minute trip to the market and she has about 10 bags. One bag per item that she buys. WHY??? I even carry reusable containers to the market for wet food items. Here are some ways you can reduce plastic bag use:
- Use a cloth bag.
- Refuse plastic bags or take out your purchase and hand the bag back to the shop.
- Don’t use a bag at all. Just put your item in your purse or backpack.
- Reuse plastic bags if you must use plastic.
Taiwanese are getting a teeny tiny bit better about plastic consumption. The reason isn’t so much that they are more environmentally conscious, it’s that the city charges to dispose of trash. So less consumption equals less garbage, which equals less trash fees.
The global ban on plastics has begun and major corporations are already on board. Even if you are a global warming skeptic, avoiding plastics helps to reduce trash. I feel like everywhere I go there is trash littering the ground. Don’t you??? We are being suffocated by our own waste!
Even if this post converts one single reader, I will be happy. Please share!