Single-use plastics

Compostable Plastic Straws

The company has already phased out most plastic straws, switching to paper and reducing use over-all.  A few compostable plastic straws were found in one of the two buildings audited. Some paper straws were found and were not categorized as plastic waste although many paper straws also have a plastic liner.  No non-compostable plastic straws were found.

Reduction Potential: Medium-High

Material Definition

Single-use plastic straws made from a polymer designed to compost such as potato starch, sugarcane, cornstarch and hemp.


Eliminate straws or replace them with paper. Note that even paper straws may be lined with a plastic coating, creating the potential for pollution and exposure, although these are preferrable to plastic straws. If some straws are necessary to accomodate people with disabilities, consider minimizing their visibility or make them available upon request.

Examples from Audit

None. All compostable straws found in the audit were paper-based.


Reduce offering or switch to reusables.

In early 2019, the company enacted a new straw policy which included a transition to paper straws and also a directive to locate straws in enclosed dispensers or opaque containers, making them less visible and tempting to users.  Reusable straws are used on occasion at catering events. Straw availability in eating venues may be necessary to accommodate employees with disabilities. Cascadia Analytica recommends replacing plastic straws with straws made from … straw!

Paper Straws
Photos: Meghan Rodgers @ Unsplash

Consider recruiting employees to make straw-free beverage choices.  See Chapter BEHAVIOR CHANGE.

Behavior Change