Paper straws are more common across the world in food service locations than once before.  Food service locations buy their paper straws in bulk and often from China.  Sourcing Nova has appropriate manufacturers that make the best paper straws in bulk and can find the best straw for you and your establishments.

paper drinking straws
paper drinking straws

Tea shops, resorts, restaurants, smoothie shops, coffee shops, ice cream parlors, catering and other establishments that sell food and drink all have something in common.  Each of these locations have and offer straws to their customers for drinking.  The plastic straw is slowly being phased out in the favor of the biodegradable paper straw.

Biodegradable Paper Straws
Biodegradable Paper Straws


Paper drinking straws for your business

why paper straws
why paper straws

Let’s expand on a quick sentence from above.  Several countries, regions and even certain businesses, Starbucks is one, have laws and policies against the plastic straw.  There are several biodegradable options available for bulk outside of paper straws, including: bamboo , wheat, reed and PLA straws.  Each of these are biodegradable and eco-friendly.

Sourcing Nova has considered each of the biodegradable straw options for bulk wholesale.  The decision was clear: the paper straw is the best and most reliable substitute for plastic straws.  Paper straws have all of the characteristics of eco-friendly products: biodegradable in soil and marine environments, compost friendly, 100 percent Gluten-free and allergen free.

While this is great information and certainly something to consider, you are a business owner.  This means you consider every cent you earn and spend on your business to maximize your profits.  This is just common business sense.  You need to know how much you can reasonably expect to spend per straw.

The average cost of producing a paper straw is approximately $0.005/piece.  PLA, polylactic acid degradable, straws are approximately $0.01/piece.  Remember: Many of the largest food service businesses in the world: Starbucks, the McDonald’s corporation and the Pepsico food service, which owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, have made the switch from plastic to paper straws.  Take into consideration the sheer number of straws these businesses order, buy and use annually and the decision makes sense.

Paper straws in bulk

Many people immediately think of one location to buy paper straws in bulk – Amazon.  Paper straws are available in bulk, but the cost is often higher than what Sourcing Nova can find for you in a drinking straw of a similar quality.

paper straws bulk
paper straws bulk

Sourcing Nova has options that Amazon does not as well.  Sourcing Nova can offer you trademarked straws, and Amazon e-sellers do not have this capability.  Amazon is primarily direct retail and is not the ideal choice for long term bulk purchases to meet your specific needs.  You, as a business owner, need a reliable, trustworthy, wholesale trading partner in paper straws.  The vast number of paper straws used in food service, including Starbucks, are bulk sourced from China.

This means for you and business owners who sell hot and cold drinks want the best possible price for a high-quality, biodegradable paper straw.  Sourcing Nova can find a Chinese manufacturer for paper drinking straws.

paper straws for hot drinks
paper straws for hot drinks

China has stabilized itself in the face of the worldwide pandemic.  Most of the normal production of goods and daily living is back on track for the majority of the Chinese people.  Sourcing Nova has also visited several different manufacturers for paper straws, including the Starbucks and McDonald’s paper straws.  Our observations and understanding of the the Chinese manufacturing industry point to the same conclusion – customers seeking to source biodegradable paper straws in bulk from China are in a prime position to do so.

Paper straws in China

There are two sorts of paper straw manufacturers in mainland China.  Here are the two:

  • Large factories

– Huge factories with tens of thousands of square meters/yards of factory space. Some of the largest factories reach into the 100,000 square meters/yards size and employed 300 – 800 full-time employees.

Products in these factories, including paper straws, have several quality certifications: FDA, LFGB, SGS and more.  There is strict control on the material quality used, kraft paper imported from Finland, use FSC certified sources, have FSC factory certification and ISO9001 quality certification.  These are some of the most rigorous certifications for Chinese manufacturing.  Sourcing Nova insists on using manufacturers that have these certifications.

More than 80 percent of the products from these large factories are exported to Europe, America, Japan and the like for large food service companies.  Additionally, these factories export to major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target.

Straws made in these factories are produced in dust-free conditions, an automated assembly line and microwave sterilization technology from the inside out.

Paper straws come in two diameters with different layers of paper:

  • 6 to 8 mm straws have three layers of paper
  • 10 to 12 mm straws have four layers of paper
  • Waterproof oil is on the innermost layer of paper
  • All surfaces that come in contact with the user are smoothie
thick drink paper straws
thick drink paper straws
  • Temporary factories

–These do not make the food grade paper straws in bulk as a general rule.  Their primary business model is gift packaging for various products. The stringent plastic ban in China history has the small to medium factories shifting their manufacturing to paper straw production during this time.  It is not a long term business decision as these manufacturers are capitalizing on the opportunity to earn additional profits.

Paper is not sourced from Finland but local producers in China.  The paper selected include wheat straw, bagasse (from sugar cane pulp) and bamboo for the raw paper material, and all these are low cost.

This is food grade paper and is used to make the paper straw.  The factory does not have long term plans for the bulk paper straw industry but instead capitalize on the opportunities available while the country completes the plastic ban.  Eventually, the supply and demand for paper straws in bulk will stabilize or the numbers will exceed the demand.  At that time, these smaller businesses will exit the industry for other production.

Paper straw certifications

There are three that countries use in their certification requirements.  These include:


– The LFGB, Lebensmittel-Bedarfsgegenstände-und Futtermittelgesetzbuch, or “Foods, Consumer Goods and Feedstuffs Code” certification is for any food grade material. This is also the standard for France.

The remainder of the E.U.

– The BFR, Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung, the Federal Institute for Assessment is the basis for the LFGB.


– The FDA, Food and Drug Administration, oversees all food grade materials.  This is also the standard for Australia.

Each of these organizations have their own specific requirements.  Each organization share the same purpose – protecting their citizens from hazardous substances.  The best paper straws and straw manufacturers must hold these certifications to source outside of China into major markets.

Sourcing Nova considers these as non-negotiable standards makes sure manufacturers have all three.  There are some certifications, however, that are not significant and therefore not as important.  The Soil Biodegradable Certificate and Seawater Biodegradable Certificate are for paper straws that certify the straws as biodegradable.  This certification is redundant – the LFBG, BFR and FDA all require biodegradable certifications.

Passing the biodegradable certifications does not mean the manufacturer has the LFBG, BFR and FDA certifications.  This is an important difference to note.  The LFBG, BFR and FDA have much more stringent requirements outside of biodegradability.

Common problems of cheap paper straws

Cheap paper straws are just that – cheap.  They are not sturdy enough for repeated or extended use, often will not pierce lids or plastic films and unravel in contact with the beverage.  Imagine chewing the paper core of your toilet paper roll – this is what it is like drinking from a cheap paper straw.

The inside of the straw is often not coated.  Those who enjoy Boba teas and the pearls at the bottom often enjoy using a paper straw to suck the pearls up through the straw.  The pearls get caught in the straw are stuck.

Rather than enjoying your beverage over time and leisurely, it must be consumed rapidly before the straw unravels and is useless.

Options for wholesale paper straws

There are plenty of options available.  Sourcing Nova makes certain to find appropriate manufacturers that offer several options for their customers.  Here are the primary options that are available:

Paper straw color

– There are lots of colorful paper straws available on the market.  Sourcing Nova has looked at these color straws carefully and decided the better straw options for commercial bulk purchase are white and gold paper straws.

white paper straws gold paper straws
white paper straws gold paper straws

Brightly colored straws are only appropriate for certain events – birthday parties for small children are the most common – and these straws are considerably more expensive.  These straws also use ink, claimed to be food safe ink.  Sourcing Nova stands behind the idea the safest food grade ink is no ink.

Paper straw shapes

–Most of the paper straws available are straight, particularly the larger diameter straws necessary for Boba teas.  These Boba tea straws are four-ply paper and are not easily bent at an angle for drinking.

bendable paper straws
bendable paper straws

The thinner, 6 mm, diameter straws only use three-ply paper, and can be ordered with the flexible tip, bendable, as part of the straw design.  Straight straws are still available as well.

Characteristics of the best paper straws

Sourcing Nova has spent considerable time at many manufacturers, talking to owners, looking for certifications and checking the straw making machines.  Here what we feel are the best characteristics for paper straws available in bulk:

  • Environmentally friendly and healthy

– In all steps of the manufacturing process from raw materials to export.

  • Biodegradable

– The paper straw should degrade back into the environment within three months.

  • Odor free

– There should be no industrial or manufactured smell or odor.

  • Durable

– The straw must work for a minimum of two hours in beverages with temperatures from  -10 to 50 C (14 to 120 F).

  • Ink

– If there is any printing, the only ink acceptable is food-grade soybean oil – tasteless and does not fade.

  •  Cut to length

– Each cut must be absolutely smooth with no burrs that can cause injury to the mouth.

paper straws smooth tip and angled tip
paper straws smooth tip and angled tip
  • Kraft paper

– Kraft paper does not dissolve easily in water.

  • Size

– The length and diameter must meet customer demand

  • Certifications

– The manufacturer must hold all three certifications:  LFBG, BFR and FDA

Packaged for export

Sourcing Nova considered these factors as well.  These are our non-negotiables for sourcing your paper straws in bulk:

  • Microwave sterilization post-production
  • Individually wrapped for bulk purchased
individually wrapped paper straws
individually wrapped paper straws
  • 100 pieces per package for simplicity in counting

Wholesale MOQ

Many times Sourcing Nova encounters this question.  The answer is the same – it depends on your purchasing needs.  There are two different options you have:

  1. You will need to consider your own box for your specific brand.  It will require a higher MOQ.  Since you need a custom designed box, your MOQ is often 3,000 cases.
  2. Those who are not interested in a brand logo do not have a large MOQ.  Typically a 5,000 piece order, 5,000 straws and not cases, is standard.  Sourcing Nova can use a larger manufacturer for this type of order.

Wholesale pricing

The plastic ban movement in China means the paper straw production is low and prices are high as a result.  Here is what you need to take into consideration for your straw needs:

  • Length and diameter – Both will have a direct affect on your cost.
  • Production process – Oblique is more expensive than flat mouth because of the processes
  • Layers of paper – Four layers for 12 mm are more expensive than three layer 6 mm
  • MOQ – The higher the MOQ means a lower cost although often not significant

Sourcing Nova has followed the supply and demand of other products in the past and have seen a balance after approximately six months prices stabilize.  Prices may fall, but we cannot guarantee this.


It is a strong recommendation from Sourcing Nova to put a logo on the wrapper package and not the  straw itself.  Customers are more likely to see your brand name on the wrapper and not the straw itself.  The results are a cheaper cost, cleaner and more sanitary product.

custom paper straws
custom paper straws

Final Thoughts

This is quite a bit of information for you to consider.  However, you must know all of it to wholesale paper straws from China.

Did we answer all of your questions?  Is there anything you need to know we did not cover?  Is there any other information you need to get your first order started?  Let us know in a message below.