I read with great interest the Editor’s Note in the August issue of the Shuttle. Plastic straws are an environmental problem. A while back I read that an Italian restaurant had started using pasta as an alternative to straws. I researched some possibilities and tried a few of these with great results. One example is the Anna-brand pasta “long ziti #19”. These held up very well with iced tea, soda and water. I even gave our granddaughter one to try with juice — no complaints. They also offer other sizes that worked equally as well. Different brands of pasta have similar ones available. Not to mention you can eat your straw if you want. Zero waste.
— Jeanne Schmidt
With regard to Mary Sweeten’s article on plastic vs. paper or polylactic acid straws (The Shuttle, August 2018), I would like to mention an innovative alternative that I was pleased to find served to me recently at an outdoor cafe at the Baltimore Inner Harbor: PASTA! Each of our iced drinks was served with a long, hollow noodle approximating the length and diameter of a standard straw. I cannot say whether this straw was made of wheat, rice flour or some other grain but I can say that it functioned admirably in the hot sun, soaking in a glass of iced tea for 20 or 30 minutes, never becoming limp or even soggy. I do not know the price of noodles these days but I think it’s worth finding out and comparing it to the half-cent price of plastic straws and 4-5 cent price of paper straws described by Ms. Sweeten. Perhaps an out-of-the-box solution is at hand?
— Jim Cohen