Paper Straws Won't Be the Ultimate Solution, But They Offer a Good Start

Paper Straws Won't Be the Ultimate Solution, But They Offer a Good Start

Tommy Lai |

The fight against plastic waste has many fronts, and one highly visible battleground is the straw. Plastic straws, notorious for their single-use nature and environmental impact, have been increasingly replaced by paper alternatives for food packaging products. 

But are paper straws the ultimate solution for food products today?

While paper straws are a positive step, there's more to consider regarding sustainable food packaging requirements. If you’re ready to adapt paper straws in your business, it’s crucial to source from a reputable “food packaging company near me” in Canada to ensure quality products. 

From Plastic to Paper Straws

Plastic straws emerged in the late 19th century. Over time, they took over with the rise of mass production, warehousing, shipping supplies, and convenience packaging solutions. The issue? Plastic straws often end up in landfills or oceans. They take hundreds of years to decompose, harming wildlife and ecosystems. A recent study found that plastic straws make up a significant portion (4%) of plastic waste polluting our oceans. 

This leads to the emergence of paper straws, which are biodegradable. They can decompose in weeks or months under the right conditions. While paper straws can make a positive change, some industries can't see them as the ultimate food packaging solution. But looking on the brighter side, paper straws eliminate plastic straw pollution from using plastic straws, though the production may require more resources.

Canada Says Goodbye to Plastic Straws

Accoring to a news report from Phys Org, Canadian restaurants and cafes are prohibited from providing customers with plastic straws, food containers, checkout bags, or cutlery. This is a part of Canada's commitment to zero plastic waste by 2030.

Over the next decade, this pioneering ban on harmful single-use plastics is expected to eliminate more tha 1.3 million tonnes of hard-to-recycle plastic waste and over 22,000 tonnes of plastic pollution. This equates to more than a million garbage bags of litter.

Steven Guilbeault, the Canada Minister of Environment and Climate Change, said that following this regulation, businesses will start providing the sustainable alternatives Canadians desire, such as paper straws and reusable bags as food packaging solutions. 

Canada Straws Market Insight

The value of the Canadian straw market is expected to grow from $57.7 million in 2023 to $113.7 million by 2033, with a projected annual growth rate of 7.0%. It was valued at $65.0 million in 2022. According to Future Market Insights, paper will remain the most popular material for straws, holding about 42.3% of the share in 2022.

The food service sector dominates the industry, with over 84% share. Demand in this sector is expected to grow at around 7.2% annually over the next decade. The industry is also expected to see an incremental growth of $48.7 million, expanding to 1.7 times its current value during the forecast period.

Paper Straws as Biodegradable and Compostable Packaging Solutions

Paper straws have emerged as a favoured alternative to traditional plastic straws, which offers an effective step towards more sustainable food packaging. But what makes paper straws the new food packaging solutions?

  • Biodegradability: Like most organic materials, paper straws are biodegradable - broken down by microorganisms like bacteria and fungi into simpler elements.
  • Compostability: A subset of biodegradable materials, compostable options break down much faster (normally within 180 days) under controlled composting conditions.

Why Use Paper Straws?

  • Reduced Landfill Waste: Traditional packaging of plastic straws take hundreds of years to deteriorate in landfills, with potentially leaching harmful chemicals. Paper straws, in contrast, break down much faster, alleviating the landfill burden.
  • Potential for Nutrient-Rich Compost: Depending on the local composting infrastructure and any additives used in paper straw production, composted paper straws can contribute to creating nutrient-rich compost. This can then be used to improve soil health, which promotes plant growth and reduces reliance on synthetic fertilizers.
  • Lower Environmental Impact: The specific environmental impact of paper straw production varies depending on factors like source materials and manufacturing processes. But it requires less energy and resources than traditional plastic straw production, which results in a lower overall environmental footprint.

Paper Straws for Food Businesses

In recent years, paper straws have become familiar in restaurants, cafes, and stores worldwide, replacing their plastic packaging products. But can paper straws offer packaging solutions for businesses beyond the environmental benefits?


Paper straws are primarily used for cold beverages like iced coffees, smoothies, and soft drinks. They offer a similar function to plastic straws, which allow customers to enjoy their drinks without direct contact with the cup.

Benefits for Food Businesses

Capitalizing on the "Green Wave"

A 2021 Nielsen study discovered that 66% of consumers are willing to spend more on environmentally-safe options. Food businesses on Vancouver, BC switching to paper straws shows sustainability in their food packaging services. This positive brand image leads to increased customer loyalty and attracts new customers.

For example, a 2019 study by Cone Communications found that 90% of Americans have a more favourable view of a packaging company that supports environmental causes.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

A 2018 report by the National Geographic Society found that over 60 countries had implemented a plastic straw ban or restriction. By switching to paper straws, food businesses avoid the scramble to comply with new regulations and fines associated with non-compliance, especially in Vancouver, BC. 

This future-proofs businesses to focus on core operations without worrying about adapting to changing regulations in food packaging products.

Branding Opportunities

Unlike plastic counterparts, paper straws are customizable to the business' brand logo or design. Any manufacturer can use this method on napkins, cups, or even the straws themselves to enhance brand recognition and experience for your customers.

Factors to Consider on Paper Straws

  • Clear straws offer a versatile option that complements any drink color, while kraft brown adds a natural touch and pairs well with eco-friendly branding.
  • Wider straws are ideal for thicker beverages like milkshakes or smoothies, while standard-size straws work well for juices and sodas.
  • If you prioritize eco-friendly options, kraft paper straws are the most biodegradable choice. Look for straws with BPI certification for verification.
  • Matching your straw color to your branding or drinkware can add a nice touch. Explore paper straw options.

Recommended Paper Straws





6x210mm Kraft Paper Straw Individually Wrapped - 5000 Pcs


6mm x 210mm


12x210mm Jumbo Kraft Paper Straw Individually Wrapped - 2000 Pcs


12mm x 210mm


8x220mm Kraft Paper Straw Individually Wrapped - 1000 Pcs


8mm x 220mm



8mmx210mm - Kraft Straws with sharp end

Switch to Eco-Friendly Packaging Solutions

While paper straws represent a positive step towards reducing plastic waste and promoting sustainability in food packaging, they may not be the ultimate solution on their own. It's a must for food businesses to prioritize cost-effective materials and food safety, consider a good approach to sustainable packaging solutions, and source high-quality products from reputable suppliers.

By switching to paper straws, food businesses can align with consumer preferences for environmentally friendly options, stay ahead of changing supply chain regulations, and enhance their brand image.

For premium food packaging solutions, explore Patek Packaging to discover high-quality packaging ideas that meet your business needs and environmental goals. 


Frequently Asked Questions 

What are some potential future advancements in paper straw technology?

Researchers are exploring several possibilities, including:

  • Bio-based coatings: Replacing traditional coatings with biodegradable alternatives derived from plants or microorganisms.
  • Improved paper strength: Developing paper straws that are more durable and last longer, especially for hot beverages.
  • Faster biodegradation rates: Engineering paper straws to break down even faster in composting facilities.

How can businesses ensure they're using sustainable paper straws?

Look for certifications from companies like BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) that verify the straws meet specific composting standards. This ensures they break down effectively and don't add to landfill waste.

Consider the source of the paper. The straws should be FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, indicating the paper comes from responsibly managed forests that minimize deforestation's environmental impact.

Is paper straw single use?

Paper straws are designed for one-time use, making them disposable food packaging items. While paper itself is recyclable, the recycling process becomes more intricate when it involves paper straws.

Normally, paper can undergo recycling once or twice before reaching a point where its material composition deteriorates, rendering it unsuitable for further recycling into new paper products.

Why is the demand for paper straws increase in Canada?

In 2021, single-use plastics made up 72.5% of the market. With the Canadian government's ban on these plastics, the demand for single-use plastic straws has decreased. Consumers now prefer environmentally-friendly options like paper straws. Made from kraft paper, these straws are durable, lightweight, and hygienic.

Future Market Insights predicts that the paper straw segment will grow immensely, potentially holding around 90% of the market share by 2033.