Single-use plastic has invaded our lives so completely; eliminating it is effectively impossible. In fact, we often don’t even “see” plastic because it is just threaded into our daily habits. Single-use plastic is plastic that is used …. well …. a single time … once. Much of our packaging (milk jugs, to-go containers, detergent bottles, soda bottles, …) is difficult to eliminate, although I can suggest some ways to reduce this in future blogs.
Other examples of single-use plastic are very easy to eliminate, in fact we can do so TODAY. One example is plastic cutlery. Many group eating events provide plastic forks, spoons and knives. It is also becoming common in some restaurants and hotel breakfasts. This has come to be mainly because they are cheap and so easy to feed a crowd without investing in a large set of metal utensils. Also, using them eliminates the need for washing. This can be fixed by carrying your own cutlery with you AND remembering to take it out and use it. Once you have these with you, you will be amazed how often you find an opportunity to skip the plastic fork and pull out your own. Bonus points…carry TWO so you can offer it to someone you’re dining with.
My simple hack is to purchase a cheap metal fork, spoon, knife (thrift stores have an abundant supply and this is a great way to “reuse” things…). I throw in a reusable straw or two also!
Wrap them in a napkin and secure with a rubber band or ribbon.
Then, stash this in your purse, backpack, vehicle, briefcase, whatever you typically have with you at such events. DONE!
Well, almost….now you actually have to REMEMBER to use them – I can’t tell you how many times I take the first bite off a plastic spoon and think…shoot….I have my reusable one with me! No worries, as with many of these things, old habits are hard to break but it will happen, just keep at it!
This also provides the opportunity to raise awareness with others about the use of single-use plastic. Some people may take note of this and how easy this was and this may prompt their adoption of this simple habit.
While this may seem like a drop in the single-use plastic bucket and can’t really make an impact – I would say that EVERY step we take matters and makes a difference. Making, packaging, transporting plastic cutlery takes resources and energy. One metal set can last our lifetime. Cutlery is a great area to focus, also because these items are not recyclable. Even when we put them in the recycle bin, they are sorted out at the recycling facility and thrown to the land fill. We got this!
Have a great, delicious, day!