Fast food dining, cafeterias, food trucks, fairs and festivals, children’s parties (and most potluck parties), picnics, lunch meals and take outs! These usually come with flimsy plastic spoons, forks and knives because it is the cheapest option for establishments to provide “convenience” to its costumers. There is a ready and willing market for it - people who are always on-the-go, individuals who spend hours to style a party but couldn't be bothered to wash plates and utensils, among other types.
Yes, we are being responsible citizens by throwing and segregating our trash. The truth though, much like the single-use straws, billions of these plastic utensils end up in our landfills and in our waters. As countless studies have shown, these plastics pose dangers to animals particularly sea turtles, birds and mammals. We also know by now that it takes hundreds of years to break down naturally. Recent figures estimate that about 40 billion plastic utensils are thrown away annually in the United States, alone. A glaring example of our throwaway culture.
We ditched single-use straws. Now it is time to influence our families, friends, colleagues and communities to actively participate in the BYO (Bring Your Own) cutlery movement.
Carrying our own spoon, fork and knife can help solve our plastic crisis. It is a simple conscious sustainable act we can all do to push for positive change in our fight for healthier lives and a greener planet.
* Most of us have spare sets of cutlery at home. Get a set, wash and dry it, place in your favorite pouch and into your to-go active bag.
* Due to security reasons, silver cutlery might not be advisable to bring around in our bags. A good alternative is to get yourself a travel utensil set made of organic bamboo. It is reusable and biodegradable. It is a very little investment but very high in the sustainability factor.
* In this period of pandemic, having our own set of utensils when we “eat out” is also a safe and responsible act, for ourselves and everyone else.
Want to how much contribution this little act can do? Let us make some computations based on a pandemic mix of 2 days at the office and 3-day work-from-home (WFH) arrangement. Assuming you eat out for lunch when at work, and order food delivery for lunch when on WHF, that’s an average of:
1 set of plastic utensils (spoon, fork, knife)
x 5 days per week
x 52 weeks
= 260 sets of plastic utensils (or 780 plastic pieces) > 780 pieces LESS in landfills / oceans due to the active effort of one SINGLE PERSON!
If we can bring our mobile phones, perfume and make up kits in our bags, why does it seem hard to bring our own set of cutlery? A utensil set, specially if made by bamboo, is lighter than a mobile phone, yet it is not (yet) in our bags.
A little reminder. Plastic, an inanimate material, per se is not the problem. It is what we choose to do with it that has negatively affected our lives and our environment. The use of plastic has revolutionized so many products, and many are of necessity and importance to our lives. It will be unlikely that we will be getting rid of plastics entirely, and unnecessarily.
What we as consumers should learn to do is stop using the bad plastics particularly single - use ones. Our purchasing power should be redirected to quality goods that will last. Let us give importance to items that are durable, which would ultimately be good for ourselves, our families, community and the environment.
Say YES to BYO Cutlery movement! Say yes to a greener, more responsible and sustainable future for us and the next generations.