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Sustainable Plastic Cutlery Alternatives

In today’s era, plastic products are trendy and highly-usable items found in every household kitchen. Being their handy nature, they are good to go in our daily usage requirements. On the other side, they are artificially made products and are a significant source of pollution enhancement. They clog our oceans, ponds, rivers and can choke birds and fishes found there. These products create an environmental imbalance, and thus most of the world is trying to find an alternative for the same. Compostable plastic products and bioplastic products are taken as substitutes for plastic products, but authenticity shows that it is not valid.

Alternatives to Plastic

There are three commonly used plastic substitutes: –

Biodegradable-Plastics

Recycled-plastics 

Bioplastics

Biodegradable Plastics

These plastic products can decompose by the action of sunlight and living microorganisms (such as bacteria), and thus they are referred to as Oxydegradable / Photodegradable products. But in the realm, these products are made of petrochemical plastic that decomposes into dangerous substances and can leave behind noxious residues.

Recycled Plastics

Recycled plastic products are the products that can be synthesized into a new product and thus are made up of recycled plastic materials. These products are a good stand-in of plastics, but there are fewer resources for its collection and recycling.

Bioplastics

Bioplastic products are generally derived from naturally found resources such as sugarcane and corn starch. Polylactic acid, commonly known as polylactide (PLA’S), is used to manufacture food containers. Bioplastics products can be synthesized into compost, but they require a high-temperature level for the whole procedure, or else they do not break into the desired form.

When synthesized, Biodegradable plastics produce a great amount of methane gas, which is harmful by nature and a big cause of global warming.

How the PLA Version are derived

Some PLA versions are derived from genetically modified corn, which is not good from the environmental point of view. 

Most of the biodegradable plastics can only be synthesized under extreme temperature levels, which may take years to complete the whole process and sometimes leaves toxic by-products that are harmful to the environment.

Bioplastic products are grown in the field, and they require resources like water, land, and fuel, which can enhance water pollution through fertilizers surfeit.

PLA products do not easily combine with true plastic in the conventional recycling bin and cannot be recycled effortlessly. 

Both Bioplastic/ Biodegradable products are not entirely compostable.

Edible-Cutlery

Another replacement for plastics is edible cutlery, which the user can consume without harming the consumer and environment. It is a good idea against plastic replacement, but when considered on a large scale production and manufacture, it is not a feasible solution as: –

Food items are required, which on the other hand can be a good option in the reduction of world hunger.

They are not made of truly organic ingredients, and their ecological influence is more on the negative side. 

Are there other resourceful solutions?

The good thing is that there is another alternative to Bioplastics/ biodegradable plastics, and that is wood. It is easily found in nature and can be used as a replacement for plastics as: –

Found in abundance, manufactured from fast-growing birch trees, wooden utensils are the best solutions against plastic products. Birch trees mature within 12 years and hence can supply wood for a long time. It is a myth that wood-products may harm trees’ population, but it is not the case in reality. Wood-products are usually durable and can be used for years in one’s household requirements.

Cutleries manufactured from wood are truly 100% natural and do not require any chemicals during their creation, due to which it does not affect our environment.

Wood items can decompose in a brief span of 90 days, and the best part is that they can also be used in the form of compost for our garden plants. Unlike PLA utensils, they do not entail any chemicals during their decomposition process.

The compost made of wood can add nutrients to the soil and be used as fertilizers for plants.

The utensils made from wood can be cast into any shape in very little time, so it provides ease of comfort when it comes to supply, and they are good to go for a more extended period of its usage.

The best solutions are wooden utensils: –

Although the utensils are made from bioplastic material and neither certified, that does not mean that they do not bring any ecological imbalance to nature. There is a big-time impact on our environment because of these products. They are detrimental to our soil as they may reduce fertility and make the soil unproductive as it may lose its nutrients. Moreover, if consumed by animals can put their lives in danger. Thus it is quite necessary to find the best possible solutions against these bioplastic products, and yes, the best choice is wooden utensils. These utensils do not affect or bring any environmental imbalance highly efficient for usage. They can be easily decomposed into compost that can be used to make our soil nutritious and productive. The compost used for plantation makes the plant healthy and fast-growing. Hence it completes the whole cycle of wood converted again into the wood. So, rather than using the utensils made from bioplastic materials, one should look forward to using wooden utensils as they can be easily manufactured, highly durable, easily compostable, and bring no harm to our ecology.

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