In this article we’d like to turn your attention to one common problem in the food industry- the use of plastic spoons.
How did they come into use?
Many restaurant and cafe owners prefer them in comparison to reusable ones (metal or wooden) because of their low price and convenience- one doesn’t have to wash them and he/she can just throw them after use.
But who is paying for that convenience? The consumers and the environment.
Well, plastic spoons are made of polypropylene and polystyrene. They are both widely known and used for many years but a few people know that actually polystyrene can leach styrene which is a carcinogen. The use of polystyrene can lead to reproductive disorders, prostate cancer, heart diseases and obesity (The Guardian 2014). Moreover, the likelihood of polystyrene to leach styrene is higher when it comes in contact with hot or oily food or alcohol. So with every bite of hot food that we take, we make one step closer to cancer.
Where is the environment in this picture?
Polluted with plastic, unfortunately. The sad truth is that polystyrene takes at least 500 years to decompose. And that is for 1 plastic spoon, imagine how many you’d use for your whole life…and that would be just the waste of one person, imagine how many more people are out there…
How can we get rid of used plastic spoons then?
Well, we actually cannot because polystyrene is not easily recyclable and it should not be burned as it releases Carbon Monoxide and Styrene Monomers which are health hazardous (Going Green Services 2017).
Where do plastic spoons end up then?
Either at landfills or polluting parks, rivers, seas and oceans.
How does that happen?
Well, even if you throw your plastic spoons in the recycling container for plastic, they’re too small and polystyrene is very hard to recycle, so they’ll be sent to landfills. They can also easily end up in rivers, seas or oceans because they’re very light and are easily carried by the wind when disposed at landfills. You might be surprised to find out that plastic spoons are one of the top 5 contaminators of the oceans (Dris et al. 2015) . They can also easily poison stray animals and marine inhabitans that confuse them for food.
So what can we do to avoid this vicious cycle?
Look for alternatives and demand shop, restaurant and cafe owners to provide them.
BUT…what are the alternatives?
Some of them are more obvious than others- we have the most used stainless steel spoon that we have at every home, also the wooden one and…wait for it- the EDIBLE one.
Yes, you got that right. That one is the jewel in the crown of eco-friendly goodies. Made of sorghum, wheat, water, spices and rice, this one is not only delicious but also nutritious.
Each spoon provides your body with protein, calcium, iron, phosphorus and fiber.
100% Biodegradable- If you don’t feel like eating it, you can just throw it, but unlike the case with the plastic one, this one won’t contaminate, it will just decompose within 4-5 days
It’s tasty (you can find two flavours- plain and savoury one)
Goes well with both hot and cold food, it won’t fall apart while having it with your soup, which adds an extra touch to serving meals because you are getting more food (if you eat the spoon at the end) and you’re getting a funky cutlery to have it with, boom 😉
You receive something more with your meal, you receive an actual yummy cracker, rather than a dull plastic spoon that you have to throw after finishing your meal
Check out how this interesting product is made from here
Find out what the lovely Zori from Agleu thinks about this brilliant product from here
We’ve already made our choice, have you :))
Dris, R., Imfoh, H., Sanchez, W., and Laforsch C., 2015. “Beyond the ocean: Contamination of freshwater ecosystems with (micro-) plastic particles” [Accessed 3 September 2017] Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281030805_Beyond_the_ocean_Contamination_of_freshwater_ecosystems_with_micro-_plastic_particles
Stringer, L. 2014. “Will polystyrene cancer concerns prompt brands to change?” The Guardian [Accessed 3 September 2017] Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/aug/27/styrene-carcinogen-brands-polystyrene-foam-food-packaging
Going Green Services, 2017. “Why you should never use styrofoam again” [Accessed 3 September 2017] Available from: https://www.goinggreenservices.com/Articles.asp?ID=260
Revolucia was created in 2017 with the aim of supporting the Zero Waste movement and distributing alternatives to non-recyclable disposable plastic products. We are supporters of the slow fashion and the conscious consumption. We love sharing our tips and experience through our Blog and talks.