Plastic cutlery is an easy, go to product that is great for a picnic, day trip or lunch on the go. The majority of takeaway food is provided with plastic cutlery. This seems like such a wonderful convenience but these products are doing untold damage to wildlife. What can be done?
It is thought the US uses 40 billion plastic utensils a year. The population of the US in 2017 was ~325 million, which means each person is using 122 plastic utensils a year. Overall, we waste 6 million tonnes of single use, non-durable plastic every year across the Globe. It’s hard to imagine that figure. The average African elephant weighs ~5 tonnes. Our single use plastic waste equates to the same weight as 1,200,000 African elephants, every year! Just let that sink in. They may be convenient at the time, but that is a lot of waste, doing a lot of damage. More than 700 marine species are at risk due to the volume of plastic in the oceans now. As well as trying to remember your metal cutlery for your lunch/dinner on the go or for your next picnic, is there another option?
In 2010 a cutlery company was founded in India with the thought that cutlery should be edible. Bakeys decided to create edible cutlery to eliminate waste created from single use cutlery at the source. What’s better than being able to eat your fork too? So far the company has made spoons from just three ingredients: rice, wheat and sorghum (an ancient grain originating in Africa). Sorghum is a tough ingredient, providing structure and preventing the cutlery from going soggy, but it is also pretty easy to grow in reasonably unforgiving conditions. The cutlery is vegan/vegetarian so everyone can benefit from them. Bakeys have even thought of flavours so the cutlery is complementary to your meal! Savoury – salt and cumin; Sweet – sugar; and Plain. There is no fat in the product and thus it can be dry, but with the last bites of your food you’d not notice. In fact, the flavours of the food infuse into the spoon as you eat. It’s truly remarkable. Such a simple idea, and yet so effective. Even if you don’t want to eat the spoon and you throw it away, it will decompose in a matter of days.
Here is a quick video about the edible cutlery that Bakeys makes:
On their website, Bakeys states that they eventually want to supply a range of cutlery and even develop crockery such as small bowls and cups. The only thing out of their range is knives, but I’m sure we can manage! It costs the company 2p to make an edible spoon. This is cheaper than wooden cutlery but unfortunately, still more expensive than the plastic alternative. Bakeys hope to reduce this cost eventually. The company has a crowdfunding page (HERE) where they exceeded all their initial targets. They are crowdfunding so they can produce enough of the edible cutlery to compete with the volume of plastic and thus, companies would want to buy from them. This may not be a huge scientific discovery, but it could save us a huge volume of plastic waste. Sometimes, it is the simplest solution that is the most effective.
Here is a link and 5 min video (below) with a step-by-step guide of how to make your own edible cutlery with just 3 ingredients, for those on-the-go days: