Have you noticed more people saying no to straws and fewer waiters automatically plunking one in every drink? Word has gotten out: Plastic straws are bad. Straws hurt the environment and the creatures in it, as this viral video of the sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nostril so convincingly illustrates.
Plastic knives, forks and spoons are no better than straws. Like straws, they are used briefly, then tossed. They slip through the cracks in waste-sorting facilities and can’t be recycled. Like straws, if disposable utensils are not landfilled or incinerated, they end up loose in the environment, left behind on park benches, scattered on sidewalks. Many wash downstream and end up in the middle of the ocean. Some plastic cutlery are compostable, but these won’t break down in the ocean, only in industrial composting facilities which are rare. Ocean Conservancy has a list of the most dangerous types of ocean trash, and plastic utensils are number two, right after fishing gear. Yet, we say no to straws and gratefully accept plastic utensils.
We know now that it’s easy to drink without a straw, and giving them up was no big deal. Life will stay the same too once we forgo disposable cutlery. People ate in the pre-plastic-fork world. They were given reusable utensils which were washed and reused, or they brought their own. We can do it again, and the school lunches, picnics and to-go salads will be just as good, but with fewer forks floating in the ocean. That’s a great reason to say goodbye single use… hello Reuse! Start bringing yours along today.