When it was announced that France would be banning plastic cups, plates and cutlery from 2020 I actually did a little dance for joy (read article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/france-bans-plastic-cups-plates-cutlery-energy-transition-for-green-growth-a7313076.html).
Unfortunately, the UK is pretty far behind other European countries when it comes to environmental laws and it doesn’t seem like this is coming into effect here any time soon. However, I have noticed recently that more and more street food stalls are providing Vegware (compostable) containers and utensils when serving food which is such a sign of progress considering it does cost them more to buy these and there is no law enforcing the use of them. Sometimes waiting for change within our governmental framework is just not feasible as it takes too long, but seeing change happen within the general community is such a lovely thing.
A further step forward is to remove these disposables from our life altogether by bringing our own reusable options, which also helps out the small businesses who have to buy the containers and utensils to serve food in. I do carry around my stainless steel lunchbox if I know I will be visiting a street food market or even a restaurant incase I have leftovers, but I admittedly I forget this sometimes as it’s quite large and it is sometimes on the drying rack or being used for other things. Something which takes up no space in my bag so I leave in there all the time is a little pouch with my fold up stainless steel spork, and my chopsticks. This little set ensures I never need to use single use plastic forks or spoons (I never find I need a knife as someone who doesn’t eat meat!) or wooden throwaway chopsticks. As I am from an asian household, we have hundreds of chopsticks lying about at home anyway (the ones I have photographed are some beautiful personalised ones I received as a gift from a family member) and you can just carry around a standard set of cutlery from your cutlery drawer if you don’t want to purchase a brand new spork.
This swap doesn’t have to cost you any money, and adds hardly any weight to your bag but will make such a difference on the environment. Most plastic cutlery can’t be recycled, so every time a set is used that will sit in landfill for hundreds of years. It seems ridiculous to create so much damage for 10 minutes of convenience; not to mention the health issues of eating hot food with plastic (heat causing leeching of the plastic into your food!). It has recently been predicted that plastic will outweigh fish in our oceans by 2050; thats only 33 years away, which is terrifying. Simple changes in our everyday life will hopefully push this prediction further forward to give us more time to make a global drastic change.
Heres my spork:
And heres some cheap chopsticks incase you don’t already own some at home:
I hope you enjoyed Zero Waste Week and hopefully considered some of the swaps I’ve discussed; even one change is a step forward for the better, so thank you for reading!