Last week between sessions at a conference I was attending, I found myself at an empanada restaurant with friends, ordering lunch. Whole wheat and spinach, with beans and rice on the side seemed perfect, but as soon as I received my order the counter person handed us plastic knives, spoons, and forks.
One of the hardest challenges in going no-plastic, it seems to me, is just breaking the regular routine of saying, “that’s okay! I don’t need a plastic fork.” It often seems like receiving plastic at a restaurant is entirely out of our own control. But at this point, stating that I don’t need a plastic bag has become so comfortable. A few years ago, when I’d offer to carry things home in my own bag, store clerks would respond to me with surprise and confusion – “Really? You don’t *want* a bag??” This absolutely made me feel awkward, at first! Fortunately, in more recent years I think it has become less surprising for a customer to use their own bag, but I still get that response when I say I don’t need disposable plastic utensils.
So last week, when given those plastic forks at the empanada stand, I stood firm, and smiled, and said as courteously as I could, “it’s okay! I’ve got my own.”
I regularly carry a To-Go Ware bamboo utensil kit in a recycled plastic case. But I also have some other options that I occasionally use…
GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS
Reusable utensils are something we can use nearly every day – even if it’s only having lunch at the office. With reusable utensils, one never has to throw away plastic spoons ever again. They also tend to elicit some good conversation at lunchtime on environmentalism and waste reduction, with plenty of accolades. Green Depot carries Micro-bites Miniature Utensils, which are convenient enough to be clipped onto a carabeaner.
I’ve done work as a consultant attempting to get employees at company onboard with sustainability initiatives, including the use of reusable utensils. It can be an uphill battle — folks are reluctant to change habits, and unfortunately disposable utensils are a deeply ingrained habit. Solution: if the utensils absolutely must be disposable, try using something like World Centric’s cutlery, which are corn-starch based, and completely compostable.