Not all environmentalists are happy that Singapore’s Bober Tea is giving away 5000 metal straws

An illustration of a metal straw (Photo: Mark Pazolli / Flickr)
An illustration of a metal straw (Photo: Mark Pazolli / Flickr)

More and more companies are hopping onto the trend of giving away reusable cutleries or removing straws and plastic lids from their restaurants, in a bid to be environmentally-friendly.

However, a local bubble tea shop has received some flak for choosing to give away 5,000 metal straws next week for customers who buy a drink at their store.

Bober Tea, a Singapore bubble tea company, will be giving out different-colored straws that are wider to accommodate the chewy pearls from the addictive drink, according to an article by Eatbook.

The giveaway, which will happen from April 8 to 12 at their store in Bishan MRT station, has been criticized by a member of a local online environmental group for exploiting environmental causes to sell more drinks and giving such straws “thoughtlessly” to members of the public who may not appreciate it.

Joshua Lim posted his thoughts on the Facebook group Journey to Zero Waste Life in Singapore on Saturday, pointing out how the move “seemed like a terrible initiative, imo (in my opinion)”.

The post in question. (Photo: Facebook screengrab)
The post in question. (Photo: Facebook screengrab)

“5000 metal straws in the name of SuStaiNaBiliTy,” Joshua wrote. (If you’re new to the Internet, the weird insertion of caps into the word “sustainability” denotes sarcasm. You’re welcome.)

When asked to explain his stance, Joshua said that such overproduction of metal straws and drinks in plastic cups ultimately creates waste to people who do not value living a zero-waste lifestyle.

“I think it’s a mistake for them to give it out for free, and have them received thoughtlessly,” he said. “You use the name of sustainability to let people check their feel-good box without actually doing anything for the environment.”

He also accused Bober Tea of not being “environmentally motivated” by selling drinks in plastic cups and said their metal straw campaign was “smart and misguided”.

Some commenters also pointed out the hypocrisy of the bubble tea store not giving cleaning kits along with the straws to encourage repeated use:

(Photo: Facebook screengrab)
(Photo: Facebook screengrab)
(Photo: Facebook screengrab)
(Photo: Facebook screengrab)

However, one commenter highlighted how it is still impractical for companies to let go of plastic completely because it is a cheaper material than paper:

(Photo: Facebook screengrab)
(Photo: Facebook screengrab)

The giveaway is still going to continue as planned, so it’s up to you now, Coconauts. Pick up a metal straw at Bober Tea if you really want to but know that buying a drink in a plastic cup is not going to solve global warming.

Maybe bring your own cup or bottle instead?

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on