A Hot Springs company believes it has found a solution to help keep our environment clean.

When you go out to dinner and order a soda, your plastic straw will become one of the millions that will end up in a landfill somewhere. It’s only used once, then it takes 500 years to decompose, often littering and harming ocean life.

That’s why the Alliance Rubber Company added silicone to its mix of all things rubber.

"We got into silicone extrusion,” said Misty Smith, spokesperson for Alliance.
As you start to see more businesses around the country phase out plastic straws, Alliance dug deep into possible alternatives.

"We’ve seen everything from the metal straws, paper straws, even glass straws,” said Smith. There seemed to be a fault in all of those, but silicone caught the company's attention.

“The paper ones, a lot of times, transfer the taste and then they fall apart,” said Smith. “The metal straws, if you are drinking something hot, they can burn you. Or if it’s cold, it transfers that temperature. Silicone is such a safe effective reusable solution for that.”

Alliance got to work starting in January, taking the FDA compliant silicone compound and running it through company machinery. In seconds, the product comes out as silicone straws.

"They are soft, but they work,” said Smith.” “They can be sanitized and reused over and over and over and over again and they never fall apart."

Smith said it’s a quick and easy process that could be the answer to help in this journey to save our environment. "The numbers are that there are about 500 million pieces used every day and thrown away in our landfills and environment,” she said.

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The company manufactures the straws in two standard sizes and colors but has the potential to expand on that. "We pride ourselves on being a green company,” said Smith. “That's how we've been since we started in 1923."

The silicone straws are so new, Alliance isn't even selling them yet. They're looking for retail partners around the world to bring this reusable, environmentally friendly product straight to you.