PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL -- (WTVY) The no straw craze is taking over and one local business has introduced yet another alternative: pasta straws.
"The pasta straw is exactly what it sounds like: it is a long, hard piece of pasta, just like a spaghetti noodle with a hole in it and it works just like a straw. So, it's pretty fantastic," ZooWorld Director Kayte Hogan said. "Most people are concerned it is going to add taste to the beverage. It does not add any additional taste. You don't really even notice that's its something that is there other than a straw that you're using to drink your drink."
ZooWorld in Panama City Beach recently made the switch, discontinuing the standard plastic straws and reducing their plastic footprint.
"It is one small step in our push to help remove disposable plastics and disposable products from the environment," Hogan explained.
They said this is a part of their mission to completely cut out single-use plastics at their facility.
"The cups that we use in the concession stand are also biodegradable or reusable cups. We sell reusable cups in the gift shop as well and we encourage people to purchase those reusable cups and then bring them back to ZooWorld, they get a discount on their beverages," Hogan said. "We don't use lids with our cups so we are, we're making small changes because if everybody just makes little changes it will make a really big difference and by next season we're hoping to eliminate plastic bags from our gift shop altogether as well."
Other straw alternatives are paper straws, reusable stainless steel straws, or getting rid of a straw altogether.
"Some of the alternatives to the pasta straws, paper being the biggest one, there are metal straws that are also out there, stainless steel. The stainless steel straws are great but the cost is a little more prohibitive for us and the paper straws just tend to disintegrate a little too fast," Hogan said, "so these pasta straws are great. They stand up to the drinks. You can use them for hours and we have several people who come back to purchase more because they've eaten the straws before they've given out on the drinks."
If you're interested in trying a pasta straw, ZooWorld sells them at cost; five for $1.
Officials also said they are working on other alternatives for those who may be gluten sensitive.