If you are passionate about the health of the environment, you are probably on the lookout for changes you can make to your lifestyle in order to reduce your personal waste.
Some changes are on a larger scale and require a good deal of forethought and planning, like going vegan or exploring alternative travel methods to reduce gas emissions. However, there are many small changes you can incorporate into your daily life that can greatly reduce your waste output over time. One of these changes is foregoing plastic cutlery in favor of reusable wooden utensils.
Reusable Wood vs. Single-Use Plastic Cutlery: Why Make the Change?
According to the World Economic Forum, about 40 billion plastic utensils are used and thrown away per year—and that’s just in the United States alone. Because they are so small and almost always contaminated by food waste, plastic utensils can’t be recycled and therefore eventually end up in landfills or oceans, damaging animal and plant life both in the water and on land.
Before plastic utensils are even thrown away, they can pose certain health risks to consumers. Most people are very familiar with single-use plastics—they’re used for disposable water and soft drink bottles, as take-out containers for restaurants, and even in our own homes as wrapping for food storage purposes. What most people don’t know, however, is that these everyday items are created using harmful bioactive chemicals such as BPA.
BPA is known to interfere with hormone production and regulation in the human body. It imitates estrogen, impedes on the functions of testosterone, and messes with the thyroid gland’s hormonal pathways, just to name a few. Since most people today are exposed to chemicals like this from multiple angles, pinpointing their exact effects can be a challenge; however, evidence suggests that BPA can disrupt the endocrine system, amplifying a person’s risk of diabetes, obesity, and poor reproductive health and development.
Another chemical commonly found in single-use plastic is BPS, which is very similar in structure to BPA but mostly affects aquatic animals. This means that the millions of plastic utensils and other items being disposed of each day can cause serious harm to the health of the ocean’s creatures, not to mention the damage they cause to their delicate ecosystems.
You may be wondering, how are plastic packaging companies allowed to include these chemicals in their products? The FDA has a surprisingly long list of chemicals that fall under the category of “GRAS,” or Generally Recognized As Safe, due to a lack of comprehensive scientific research on their effects. Therefore, the task of avoiding these chemicals falls mostly on the consumer.
Vote for Sustainability With Your Spending
Here’s the good news: you as the consumer wield a lot of power in the choices in you make, and single-use plastics, particularly single-use cutlery, are extremely easy to avoid with the right alternatives and a little bit of planning. Luckily, there is a wide variety of options available for reusable, long-lasting cutlery that you can take on the go just like you would a metal water bottle or ceramic coffee tumbler.
Duebest offers a fork, knife, spoon, and chopstick set made of teakwood that is sustainably sourced and handcrafted by artisans in Bali. The set comes with a convenient cloth carrying pouch that prevents any of the utensils getting lost in your bag or your car as well as keeping them clean until mealtime. Unlike some other materials, teakwood doesn’t conduct heat or react to acidity in food, which is another added benefit of carrying your own reusable wooden cutlery set. Throw in a reusable glass straw and you’ll have everything you need to enjoy your lunch at work, on a picnic, while camping, or anywhere away from home.
Reduce Plastic Usage Without Sacrificing Convenience
In the debate of reusable wooden cutlery vs. plastic cutlery, there are so many benefits to choosing the former and hardly any for the latter. The primary reason that plastic utensils and other supplies were manufactured in the first place was for the sake of convenience; however, with their compact size, easy storage, and extremely minimal upkeep and cleaning needs, wooden cutlery can hardly be described as inconvenient and boasts so many perks when it comes to supporting sustainable industry, reducing plastic use, and cutting exposure to harmful chemicals.
With just a single change to your daily routine, you can save hundreds if not thousands of plastic forks, knives, and spoons from ending up in landfills or wounding our oceans’ animals and ecosystems. You’ll also be saving yourself from exposure to unsafe chemicals like BPA. By switching to wooden cutlery, you’ll be making a sustainably healthy choice for both your body and the planet.
Duebest began with two best friends over one bowl of egg noodles! We were at a restaurant in lower Manhattan when Daphne pulled out her own personal set of chopsticks. We never would have guessed that this small gesture would spark a whole chain of events! Today, we're doing our best to support the zero waste movement through our line of sustainably sourced products including our on-the-go reusable wooden cutlery set, reusable mesh produce bags, and our reusable glass straw with case.