It is estimated that the United Kingdom discards 4.25 billion items of throwaway plastic cutlery a year. This includes plastic forks, knives, and all other items included in cutlery. Only a tenth of these items are recycled after being disposed of; the rest becomes part of plastic waste.
Buying eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic cutlery, such as reusable bamboo cutlery sets, can help you reduce your plastic waste. These are sleek, portable, and can be taken to the office, to school, and to outdoor picnics.
Bamboo cutlery sets and bamboo cooking utensils are also extremely durable and can last for many months and even years if cleaned and stored properly. Therefore, using bamboo cutlery instead of disposable plastic cutlery will also be better for your wallet because this will be a one-time purchase.
If you’re considering buying reusable bamboo cutlery sets or cooking utensils for the home, here’s everything you need to know about caring for bamboo cutlery and how long you can expect your reusable bamboo cutlery sets to last.
Why you should always choose bamboo cutlery over disposable plastic cutlery
Plastic pollution is a menace to our planet. It creates unsightly landfills, damages marine ecosystems, and microplastics (which are released into the environment when plastic waste breaks down) are poisoning our food supply. Microplastics have even been found in the human body. Plastic pollution is, therefore, quite literally poisoning our bodies.
Although governments in different countries have tried to impose bans or limits on the use of plastic packaging and disposable plastic items, it has been difficult for corporations and citizens around the world to move away from plastic. What with plastic grocery bags, plastic cutlery, plastic bubble wrap, plastic water bottles, and plastic food packaging, it is safe to say that plastic has unfortunately become an inextricable part of our lives.
Plastic is a cheap, leak-proof, and durable material, which explains why companies are reluctant to give it up in favour of other sustainable materials. However, if we are to seriously tackle the problem of plastic pollution, we will have to end our reliance on plastic and use other eco-friendly alternatives to package foodstuffs and finished goods. Bamboo and hemp are two examples of eco-friendly, biodegradable materials that are excellent alternatives to plastic.
Most people understand that bamboo is biodegradable and won’t contribute to landfills or to marine pollution, but there is also another major reason why bamboo is far better for the environment than plastic. Plastic has a huge water footprint; for context, it takes 22 gallons of water to produce just one pound of plastic.
Bamboo grows in countries with a temperate or tropical climate with plenty of seasonal rainfall, so an additional water supply does not need to be diverted to irrigate bamboo crops. Large-scale bamboo cultivation takes place in many Asian countries, including Vietnam, China, India, and Myanmar.
Given that conscious consumerism is all about making better choices about how and where you spend your money, you can start a new chapter in your life as a consumer by switching to eco-friendly bamboo cutlery instead of disposable plastic cutlery. In this way, you’ll also be supporting a small business that has a low carbon footprint instead of a large corporation which makes huge profits by manufacturing tonnes of disposable plastic items that are harmful to our environment.
The purchases you make with your money have a social, economic, and environmental impact. As a consumer, you have the power to vote with your dollars (or pounds) to ensure that the goods and services you buy have a positive environmental impact instead of being disastrous for the environment.
Bu purchasing bamboo cutlery, bamboo cooking utensils, and other products made out of biodegradable bamboo, you will also be supporting farmers in low-income countries who cultivate bamboo.
Thanks to reusable and affordable bamboo cutlery, you can now snack guilt-free anywhere. A bamboo cutlery set can easily fit into a small pocket in your bag, and you can take it with you wherever you go. So the next time you’re at a hot dog stand or at a cafeteria, you can just politely decline if plastic cutlery is offered and use your own bamboo cutlery.
If you are a parent of school-going children, you can also give your children their own bamboo cutlery sets to take to school. You can also give them their own reusable bamboo straws, which they can use instead of disposable plastic straws. There have been many incidents of aquatic creatures, such as fish, seals, and turtles, being suffocated with plastic straws that get stuck in their throats. Using bamboo straws will help them cut down on plastic waste and do their bit to preserve our precious natural world.
Encouraging your children to adopt alternatives to single-use plastic will also cultivate a passion for environmental conservation in them from an early age.
How long can bamboo cutlery sets and cooking utensils be expected to last?
On average, reusable bamboo cutlery sets can last for a good 6 months or more, depending on their quality and how well you look after them. A high-quality bamboo cutlery set can even last you for up to two years. Bamboo cooking utensils can last even longer, up to eight or ten years.
Your bamboo cutlery sets and bamboo cooking utensils should always be stored in a cool and dry place, like a kitchen cabinet. Never keep them in direct sunlight or in a humid environment because that will make the bamboo fibres break down faster.
Unlike disposable plastic cutlery, which is meant to be discarded after just one use, reusable bamboo cutlery sets can be used again and again over a period of many months. You won’t have to buy bamboo cutlery again and again, which will save you money and also save the environment.
How should I clean my bamboo cutlery and bamboo cooking utensils?
Bamboo cutlery is odour-resistant, so your bamboo spoons and forks won’t give off unpleasant smells no matter which kind of cuisine you use them to eat.
To wash your bamboo cutlery and bamboo cooking utensils, simply use some lukewarm water and dish soap. You can use a dishwashing sponge or just your hands. Always dry off bamboo cutlery and bamboo cooking spoons with a dry cloth to make sure no water is left on them. Never leave bamboo cutlery soaked in the sink or in the dishwasher. Always store your bamboo cutlery and bamboo cooking utensils in aclean, cool and dry place.
It is not advisable to use the dishwasher to clean your bamboo cutlery and cooking utensils because while the high water temperature in the dishwasher may be suitable for washing ceramic plates, it can make the fibres in the bamboo cutlery splinter. If you want to use your bamboo cutlery sets for as long as possible without needing to repurchase, just wash your bamboo cutlery and cooking utensils by hand.
You should also avoid microwaving bamboo cutlery and bamboo cooking spoons because high temperatures make bamboo degrade faster. Eating a hot meal with bamboo spoons and forks won’t ruin them, but generally avoid popping anything made of bamboo in the microwave, fridge, or freezer.
If you carry your bamboo cutlery around in a cloth bag, make sure the bag is washed often to prevent it from becoming soiled and dirty. You can just throw it in the washing machine along with your clothes and it will come out clean.
Since bamboo is a biodegradable material, you can turn your bamboo cutlery into compost once it’s time to get rid of it. It can also be recycled.
Shop bamboo cutlery sets for kids at My Little Panda
Bamboo is an excellent eco-friendly alternative to plastic. My Little Panda is a UK company offering customers products made out of organic bamboo straw and hemp fibres, which make for great eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic.
By saying no to single-use plastic products, you can play your part in curtailing plastic pollution in your neighbourhood and in the world. My Little Panda’s range of eco-friendly bamboo products currently includes their reusable bamboo cutlery sets, bamboo straws, bamboo cooking utensils, reusable makeup remover pads, reusable bamboo chopsticks, bamboo toothbrush holder, and more. Their products can be engraved with a loved one’s name if you want a personalised present to give someone on a special occasion.
You can also check out their rainbow-coloured Panda bamboo socks, which would be perfect to gift to a friend or wear to the London Pride Parade coming up in July.