Why Don’t Restaurants Use Metal Straws: 7 Valid Reasons


It is a well-known fact that plastic straws are bad for the environment. They don’t biodegrade, so they will be around for years and decades to come. The other big issue with them is that they are often too flimsy and can’t hold up to hot liquids without melting or warping. Metal straws do not have these problems. However, many restaurants still don’t use metal straws because of many reasons.

In this article, we are going to go through all the things why restaurants don’t use metal straws and take a sneak peek at other aspects that revolve around this subject.

Restaurants don’t use metal straws because they cost more, they aren’t that convenient to handle, and because many customers don’t like to use them. In addition, they might present some safety hazards and many restauranteurs think that it doesn’t make a difference for the environment.

We need to dive deep into each individual aspect if we want to fully understand the reasons behind why restaurants don’t use metal straws.

Price

One of the main reasons why restaurants don’t use metal straws is the price. Costs are always a concern when it comes to running the business, and metal straws cost more than plastic ones. Yes, metal Straws can be recycled and reused, but the reality is that they are just not cost-effective for restaurants. However, if the price was the only cost, most restaurants probably would consider metal straws based o the price, however, there are more costs to it than the initial price.

Theft

Yes, metal straw theft is definitely a real thing. This is a real cost and loss of revenue to restaurants that use metal straws, therefore many just don’t due to the reason that they always try to find ways to save that excess money.

Waste

When adding up the two previous costs it’s going to get expensive, however, there’s more. Many customers simply don’t recognize that the metal straws are reusable and they end up throwing them in the trash along with the food waste or other garbage. This wastes the metal straws which would require the restaurant to constantly purchase more.

Convenience

There is the matter of convenience and extra tasks why some restaurants choose not to use metal straws, let’s review the effect with hot drinks first.

Hot liquids

Metal straws can’t generally be used with hot liquids. So for restaurants that use heated drinks at all such as coffee shops and so on, it is not worth the risk to buy plastic or metal straws because they will get ruined in a matter of minutes or be unusable due to the heat.

Cleaning

Cleaning is always an additional task for the restaurants, so why would they choose to add one more task if it is not necessary? Yes, there are benefits to metal straws as well, however, many restaurants always try to reduce the tasks at hand, and being as organized as possible.

Aesthetics

A big purpose of the straw is to make drinking easier and more comfortable, however metal straws don’t do that which makes it harder to drink from them. However, the aesthetics really depend from person to person and I get it but I personally like the sturdy and firm structure of the metal straw.

Taste

Taste is another major concern for many restaurants because they want their customer to have a good experience. Metal has that metallic taste that can be unpleasant for some customers. However, this goes another way as well due to the reason that some people actually enjoy the metallic taste. Believe it or not because I personally kind of enjoy it.

Changed beverage taste

Some people claim that the taste of the whole beverage can alter when using a metal straw and most of the time it’s not for the better. However, there have been various studies regarding this claim and most scientist doesn’t back the complaint.

Environment

Now, as we all know that there are benefits to using metal straws. One of the benefits that many people list is how it can help to reduce waste in oceans and landfills and that is true, however, there are also drawbacks that come with this benefit.

When you use a metal straw then at first glance it looks like one day we could see less plastic in our environment because they will be recycled into new straws. But, on the other hand, there are other metals that aren’t being recycled into new metal straws and they’re just sitting in landfills which is not so good for our environment either.

Bigger concerns

Also, many restaurants don’t see metal straws as saviors, and they are very aware of the bigger concerns threatening our environment, and it certainly isn’t only plastic straws.

Even if the numbers do sound extremely alarming, for example, there are 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws on the coasts of the world, they only make up less than 1% of the total plastic pollution of the seas.

Safety

There are definitely certain safety hazards when it comes to metal straws, let’s talk about teeth first.

Teeth

There are cases when people have damaged their teeth with metal straws and many dentists warn about metal straws and especially about glass straws that are now a trending topic.

Causalities

This is a rare incident but true and heartbreaking nonetheless. In 2019, a woman in her 60s fell onto a metal straw which then lead to her premature passing. Luckily these accidents aren’t common, and restaurants perhaps aren’t ignoring metal straws due to this reason, however, it is important to point out.

Health Concerns

Metal straws might present some health hazards as well. For example, metal can react with acids with citrus drinks or it could contain lead if you’re not careful about where to buy them from. This is yet another reason why many restaurants go around metal straws.

Are metal straws safe to drink from

When considering the aspects above, metal straws can be dangerous to drink from if the user isn’t paying any attention to it, however in general, it is perfectly safe to drink from metal straws when you acknowledge and know how to drink from them properly.

The broken teeth and accidents are rare cases that won’t happen if someone doesn’t bump into you or that you don’t feel down if you are otherwise careful.

Are metal or silicone straws better

There are many alternative materials for plastic straws such as glass, acryl, paper, bamboo, and more. Silicone is one of the competitors that might present most pros when compared to the others so let’ see which are better metal or silicone.

Metal Straw Pros

  • Durable
  • Environmental friendly
  • Easy to clean
  • Reusable

Cons

  • May have a high cost
  • Heat conducting
  • May be dangerous
  • No flexibility

Silicone Straw Pros

  • Durable
  • No temperature change
  • Reusable
  • Easy to clean
  • Flexible

Cons

  • May contain BPA
  • Hard to recycle
  • May have a high cost

Overall both straw types are great choices however silicone straws have more features to them and usually have a slightly lower cost than metal straws so that might be a reason why someone would pick silicone over metal. On the other hand, metal straws are easier to recycle, don’t contain BPA, and are even more durable than silicone straws.

The decision is really yours but the majority of the public say that that they would more likely to choose silicone straws over metal.

Conclusion

This article was all about metal straws and especially why doesn’t restaurant use them. When metal straws first got the attention it was a much more popular decision than it is today because the cons really revealed themselves after a while.

I hope this article was of great value to you and that you now understand the reasons behind the restaurant’s choices considering metal straws, however, this doesn’t by any means mean that you shouldn’t use them. If you prefer metal straws remember to be careful and all will be fine!

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS and while I love working in a busy restaurant, I also enjoy more peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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