The standard at fast food restaurants and backyard parties, plastic silverware is a favorite for minimizing clean up and costs. But, as you may have guessed, it is a classic example of single-use plastic.
Single-use plastic (designed to be used once) is common in today's world and is a huge pollution problem. These disposable materials take a lot of energy and resources to make but are typically used for a matter of minutes. After they're thrown away, even cheap plastics can last for thousands of years.
In addition to being single-use, most plastic silverware is made of a plastic called polystyrene, which usually can't be recycled. From the landfill, it can pollute local ecosystems, posing a threat to plant and animal health.
For the next two weeks, don't use any plastic silverware. Comment to take the challenge!
Quick tip: Many takeout and fast food restaurants put plastic silverware in with your to-go bags without telling or asking you. Make sure you say that you don't want it ahead of time.
There are a lot of alternatives to plastic silverware. For parties, use your everyday household silverware and give guests a place to put their dirty silverware when they are finished. If you don't have enough, borrow some from a neighbor or friend. Or, if you entertain a lot, pick up a permanent set of party ware at a thrift store.
If you need to use disposable silverware, use compostable types. They are more expensive than plastic, but they can be put into a compost pile and help your garden grow.
Bamboo is a great alternative for many plastic products, including silverware. There are sets of bamboo silverware that contain enough for one person that you can take with you.
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