Disposable cutlery is kind of a big deal.
China produces about 80 Billion pairs of disposable chopsticks every year. That’s about 20 Million 20 year old trees. And you can bet the US’s addiction to plastic silverware isn’t much better…
Some progressive restaurants are moving toward eco-friendly to-go packaging and utensils, but even so, we are putting way too much energy and resources into single use products than is necessary. Most restaurants still use styrofoam or plastic containers, plastic utensils, and plastic bags, and while eating in will solve this issue most of the time, we don’t always have that luxury.
Since I’ve started to carry my own fork, spoon, and chopsticks, (plus a handkerchief) I’ve been really surprised at how much plastic I give back to vendors and they’ve been surprised to see me reject it haha.
Upon receiving my to-go meal I take the food out of the plastic bag, place the utensils (usually individually wrapped in their own plastic covering), the napkins, and any other random accessories into the bag, then hand it back to the vendor.
I admit it was a bit weird the first three times, but after starting this habit it seems ridiculous for me not to carry my own utensils and handkerchief.
Your Action Item
BYOC – Bring your own cutlery.
Cut out the excess:
A little more in-depth if you’re not convinced already.
This article from the Guardian provides some interesting historical context and a little inspiration from the BYOC (chopsticks) movement gaining momentum in Japan.