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Ecoluxe offers a collection of ecofriendly bamboo made products for the environmentally conscious person or business.

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Category: restaurant

Bamboo Plastic Utensil Disposable Cutlery EcoFriendly

Disposable Plastic Utensils Can’t be Recycled

It’s everywhere – plastic utensils! They are cheap to produce, convenient to use, and accessible everywhere. In restaurants, cafes, eateries and grocery stores, plastic disposable single-use cutlery are distributed to you with your take out food. We happily accept them because many of us have been misled to believe that disposable plastic utensils can be recycled. 

Every year, more than 100 million pieces of plastic utensils (spoons, forks, knives) are used and disposed of in landfills by Americans every day. These plastics take thousands of years to decompose and they are not recyclable. 

Why Plastic Cutlery Are Not Recyclable

One reason plastic utensils can’t be recycled is because they are too small and their shape is inconsistent making them difficult to be sorted by the recycling facilities. The second reason is that plastic utensils are made with different plastic types including plastic #1, #5, #6 or bioplastics which are not universally recyclable.

Plastic 5 is made of polypropylene (pp) – a tough, lightweight material with high heat resistance that is often used to make containers for yogurt, sour cream, straws and margarine. Plastic 5 is petroleum derived but it is considered by the EPA to be a safer plastic choice than many others in the market.

It’s glossy finish when used as plastic utensils make it grease resistant and easy to clean. Although some curbside local recycling facilities will accept plastic 5 containers, utensils are far too small to recycle so they are tossed into the garbage.

Plastic Utensil Disposable Cutlery

Plastic 6 is made of polystyrene (ps) – an inexpensive, lightweight and sturdy plastic with many purposes and uses. Aside from plastic cutlery, polystyrene is commonly used for take out containers, egg cartons, peanut foam chips for packing and disposable cups and plates. 

Because polystyrene is structurally weak and ultra-lightweight, it breaks up easily and disperses throughout the natural environment. Products made of polystyrene may leach styrene, a toxic human carcinogen, into food products when heated in a microwave and eventually ingested by humans.

Recycling is not widely available for polystyrene products. Because most curbside collection services will not accept polystyrene, this material accounts for about 35% of US landfill contributing to the growing waste pollution.

In addition to its impact on landfills, plastic manufacturing utilizes a large amount of power and petroleum which, through its extraction process, releases gases and chemical byproducts harmful to people and our environment.

 

So Why Do Businesses Still Distribute Plastic Utensil

With all the plastic waste that is polluting our environment and affecting our health, why do businesses still distribute plastic cutlery? 

Because of the attractive properties of plastic – durable, lightweight, easy to store, accessible and inexpensive, they are the preferred choice for many businesses in the hospitality sector. They are functional, practical and versatile. 

Plastic is easy to produce and widely available. By achieving economies of scale, the cost of plastic per unit is very affordable and allows businesses to keep their costs down. 

Many business owners continue to distribute plastic utensils because they have been misled to believe that they are recyclable. While some simply are not aware of the environmental impact they have on the planet. 

 

EcoFriendly Bamboo Cutlery as the Ideal Alternative

There are other options and materials available as an alternative to plastics. One of the best eco-friendly materials is bamboo. It is fast growing, durable with tensile strength, versatile and most of all biodegrades within months. 

Without all the toxicity that plastics emit, its organic, antibacterial nature makes it a safe hygienic alternative to plastics. Because of its natural fibres, utensils made of bamboo are typically not uniform in color and consistency. They are, however, durable, lightweight and recyclable – characteristics that are desirable for utensils.

Bamboo Plastic Utensil Disposable Cutlery EcoFriendly

Disposing of bamboo cutlery should not make one feel guilty. Bamboo is a natural fiber that you can compost. Later in the composting stage fungi break down the lignin that’s in bamboo into less complicated elements which can then be broken down by bacteria. From leaves to stem, 100% of the bamboo can all be composted within 2 months or up to 4 years depending on the soil conditions.

Unlike plastic, bamboo does not derive from petroleum and doesn’t require a large amount of power and nonrenewable resources for its production. Though it may dry out if put in extreme heat (like a microwave), it does not emit toxic carcinogens and is safer for your body. 

 

Make EcoFriendly Choices with Bamboo Disposable Cutlery

Bamboo Plastic Utensil Disposable Cutlery EcoFriendly

While governments begin to ban single use plastics all over the world, we can still do our part in helping with the transition to less plastic waste in the environment.

What We Can Do

  • We can decline to accept plastic utensils given to us by restaurants when we order take out
  • When buying utensils at the grocery store, we can choose biodegradable ones
  • We can also choose to use silverware at home 
  • We can buy reusable bamboo utensils that can be used for the next picnic, travel or outdoor adventure

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What Businesses Can Do

  • Consider alternatives to plastic cutlery by purchasing bamboo disposable cutlery
  • Do not freely distribute plastic utensils for your take out customers
  • Start to offer bamboo utensils instead of plastic ones at grocery stores

Start making the switch and replace your plastic utensils with more biodegradable bamboo cutlery for your next outing.

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