Disposable cutlery

Sustainable Swap:

Disposable cutlery is often made of plastic and is not recyclable in most municipalities. Cutlery marked as "compostable" must be processed at an industrial compost facility. And even then, it may not be accepted. Some compost facilities only accept BPI certified compostables since they keep the compost up to a certain standard. Also, the sorting line moves very quickly and sometimes compostable foodware gets pulled from the compost if it looks plastic-y (as many compostable utensils do). If compostable / bioplastic foodware gets into the plastic recycling stream, it risks contaminating entire batches of plastic from resale. Buyers demand recycling to be under a given contamination rate. See China's National Sword.

  • Keep a set of utensils in your bag. This can be as simple as wrapping a fork/knife/spoon with a cloth and using rubber bands (I have a stash of these I save from bunches of leafy greens) to secure the bundle. You can include chopsticks too, if you frequently use those. Alternatively, this bamboo fork/ spoon is small and lightweight enough to fit in a pocket. Or you can buy a set of bamboo utensils that come in a pouch.