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Unbreakable. Shatter-proof. Shatter-resistant.
There are many glass straw vendors who use these terms to describe their products. If you come across one that does, it may be that those straws are covered with a protective plastic sheath. (We´re choosing to avoid plastic.)
Truth bomb: Yes, glass straws can break under certain conditions.
Now, it's true that glass straws are stronger than stemware. In fact, in a battle between a glass straw and a wine glass, the straw is far more likely to come out unscathed while the wine glass is shattered. (We´ve broken a number of wine glasses to test this theory!)
That's because glass straws (like ours) are made from borosilicate, a material that has both a higher heat threshold and a stronger resistance to breakage under a variety of conditions than the soda-lime glass compound used in most glassware.
But let's be clear: glass straws are still glass. They CAN break. And anyone claiming otherwise is simply not being honest.
If you drop a glass straw from a height onto a hard surface at a certain angle, it may break when it hits. Not always, no. But on occasion, it will happen.
We've made a point of asking our customers--including the managers of busy bars and restaurants--about the breakage of their glass straws. What we've learned is that the straws (so far, anyway) have never been broken during contact with a customer. But, because the straws feel so thick and strong, a harried kitchen crew member might get a little complacent and toss a handful of straws into the dishwasher. If one happens to clatter to the floor, and that floor is concrete or tile, the straw might break.
Overall, you can expect a low rate of breakage as long as you're not juggling with your straws or rolling them off high countertops onto marble or concrete floors. Most straws get reused many times without even a scratch.. In fact, in our tests, we found that the MINIMUM average reuse rate for a glass straw in a busy restaurant/bar setting was 40 times. Many straws are used well over 100 times (and counting) with no chips or scratches.
Every one of our restaurant clients has told us that they break far more drinking glasses than glass straws.
Bottom line: treat your glass straws the same way you treat your regular glassware. In other words, be careful, but don't be afraid. :-)