How to avoid plastic cutlery
It might seem like a harmless, small bit of plastic, but plastic cutlery is really hard to recycle. They are made from plastic #6, which is notoriously difficult to recycle. Additionally, they are small, so they often fall through recycling machinery. If they don’t fall, their odd shape gets stuck in the machinery. They don’t end up being recycled no matter what you do.
Pack your own cutlery instead
It’s incredibly easy to throw a fork or spoon from your kitchen drawer in your purse or backpack. This way, if you do happen to get lunch with plastic packaging, you’re minimising your plastic use by skipping the utensils. Not to mention that plastic utensils snap and break mid-use. Your cutlery from home is much sturdier.
Health risks of plastic cutlery
Studies have shown that using plastic cooking utensils can be dangerous. According to the BfR, when plastic comes into contact with hot food, it can produce toxic byproducts. These toxic byproducts have been linked to fertility issues, cancer, and liver and thyroid diseases. Though this applies to food that is 70 degrees celsius and higher, it’s not something I want to risk.
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What you need to bring with you
Depending on the size of your bag, you might be able to bring a full set of silverware. When I carry a very tiny bag, I bring along thin metal chopsticks or a foldable set of chopsticks. These chopstic ks are collapsible and made of stainless steel and bamboo. They even come with a carrying case! As I lived in Asia, chopsticks are ideal for me but I understand that they’re not for everyone. There are also foldable cutlery sets, like this one, which is made of stainless steel.
Still, there’s nothing wrong with bringing a fork or spoon from your own kitchen. If you have a bag large enough, plan on keeping it in there at all times. Be sure to throw it in the dishwasher when you get home and replace it with a new one. Of course, you’ll want to have a cloth cover or wipe to clean the cutlery with when you’re done using it. This is a great tutorial on how to make your own without needing to sew a thing. If DIY isn’t your vibe, you can also purchase a cloth cover like this one.
Do you carry your own fork, spoon, or chopsticks with you? Leave a comment and let me know what products you recommend! If you’re looking for more small changes to aim plastic free, check out my blog on bamboo toothbrushes.
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