When we worked at our local boba shop in 2019, there were rumours that Canada would implement a plastic straw ban. Our shop decided to get a head start and transition to paper straws so our customers would be accustomed to them by the time the straw ban hit.
Although our shop was small, we would order around 7000 plastic boba straws every 2 weeks. This made us realize… if one small shop goes through 7000 plastic straws, imagine the amount of straws a large shop goes through, let alone the entire world. Out of curiosity, we searched how many plastic straws are consumed in a day in North America. According to National Geographic, USA alone consumes 500 million in a day, and Canada 57 million (Canada.ca). That’s a lot of straws!
So when our shop finally got paper straws, we were super excited to start using them.
In a matter of minutes, the excitement disappeared as the amount of disappointing series of events compiled. Let’s start with poking the straw. The angled tips are dull and are not easy to poke through plastic seals. A lot of customers would ask us how to poke the straw properly, or even request for us to poke it for them.
Another common problem is the straws don’t last and get soggy over time. Let’s just say that paper and liquid do not mesh well together. We would often get customers taking 2-3 straws for one single drink because they got soggy way too fast!
Also, paper straws taste weird. They hold the power to alter the taste (not in a good way) and temperature (makes it seem warm) of drinks. Customers complained about these occurrences daily… one customer even said “it feels like I’m sucking on a tampon!”.
Sorry paper straws, I don’t think our relationship will last. It’s you, not me.
Are paper straws sustainable anyways?
Do you need a straw for boba?
Not necessarily. There are some boba tumblrs that are straw-less, however, it doesn’t give you the same experience that you once knew: seeing the pearls at the bottom of the cup, poking the seal, and even mixing your drink.
With the updated plastic ban happening in Canada this coming 2021, most shops will be moving towards paper straws since it’s the most economical option. If you haven’t already tried paper straws, you might change your mind about using them after reading this blog post. Coming from avid boba drinkers, they really do ruin the boba experience, and aren’t as eco friendly as you may think. And although we can’t stop stores from using paper straws, we, the consumer, have the power to make eco conscious decisions while enjoying boba the way that it should be.