Looking to reduce the amount of waste at your next kid’s party? Look no further! Discover everything about the wonderful world of eco-friendly disposable utensils in this post.
Eco friendly disposable utensils
Now, don’t freak out just yet – eco-friendly living is neither difficult nor time-consuming, nor is it any extra work or washing up (contrary to widespread opinion.)
Kids’ parties are a time of joy and celebration, so let’s celebrate by doing our bit for the environment at the same time!
Eco-friendly utensils (meaning those from natural resources) are a great choice for parties. They reduce the amount of waste produced and have far less of an environmental impact overall.
One option for making a kid’s party that much kinder to the environment is to use renewable, biodegradable materials.
Things like bamboo cups, cornstarch, or CPLA (bioplastics). You can be reassured all are compostable or break down organically within a ‘reasonable’ time frame (not the 1000 or so years a polyester cleaning sponge takes, FYI…)
These materials break down fully into nutrient-rich soil and can be added to a vegetable patch or garden space.
They eventually break down independently without harming the environment, needing no extra input.
We have a compost bin in our vegetable garden, which, after much trial and error, and rats (!) has taken all the disposable, compostable utensils we used at our 4-year-old’s party recently.
My understanding is that it’ll take around one year-ish for those party bits to break down into lovely, nutritious compost for our carrots!
So cool, huh?
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Friendly disposable cutlery
So too, do eco-friendly utensils (often) have a smaller carbon footprint than throwaway plastic.
They can be reused multiple times too, despite being made of compostable materials, which further lessens the waste.
Compare that to a ‘one-time’ use of plastic-coated paper plates (which can’t be recycled due to the coating) and you see the benefits immediately.
If you shop wisely, you can buy eco-friendly utensils with a low carbon footprint close to home, offsetting your own carbon footprint.
You could also look on FB marketplace or Gumtree for second-hand options of biodegradable cutlery or utensils.
Think of places such as your nearby garden centre also, or a local eco-living shop which (if they’re true to their word) should buy locally and keep transport costs to a minimum to play their part.
What’s the issue with traditional plastic?
The issue is disposable, single-use plastic that ends up in landfills, taking hundreds and hundreds of years to break down (if ever).
As a mom, I know how tempting it is to buy a bundle of throwaway plates and cups and stick a binliner in the corner so people clear up after themselves.
But the one party I hosted where I prioritized lowering the waste was the best party we’d ever had!
I felt proud to be doing my bit and had zero fears about ‘not being fashionable, trendy or whatever.’
- Disposable tableware (eg plastic fork) are flimsy and (often) doesn’t survive even the single-use they’re intended for.
- Compostable items look nicer, in my opinion (earthy tones, think bamboo paper plates and birch wood utensils)
- There was very little food waste as I calculated per head rather than guessing the whole thing (eco-living slows you down and makes you more intentional.)
- The compostable cutlery set we used was a real talking point!!!
A high price to pay?
Single-use plastic utensils create environmental problems at every stage of their life cycle. Just think!
The cost to our breathing space (literally) is in our hands – it depends on whether we can change our consumer habits.
The process of extracting fossil fuels from the ground, refining them into plastic, and transporting the finished product (likely from as far away as China) releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
These emissions significantly contribute to climate change, a global problem threatening human and animal health and well-being.
Once a single-use plastic spoon is used and disposed of, it takes hundreds of years literally to break down in the environment.
Some plastics don’t actually break down completely – this is how toxic these materials are!
This slow, somewhat ghastly decomposition of a single-use plastic spoon means harmful chemicals leak into the soil and water, where plants and animals likely ingest them.
Studies also show that exposure to such chemicals causes human health problems, including cancer and reproductive issues.
The best way to reduce the environmental impact of plastic utensils is to avoid using them altogether. It’s as simple as that!
Stop buying them and reduce the demand for such items from the manufacturers.
There are so many eco-friendly alternatives, such as bamboo or wooden utensils, which are compostable and/or biodegradable (check out my suggestions below).
These materials break down much more quickly and don’t release toxic chemicals in the process.
What about the washing up?
Ah, that big ole’ question! Well, this is where common sense comes in. I’ll explain in the next paragraph.
What about the costs of biodegradable party products?
Of course, every decision has a consequence (we never escape that). Compostable flatware can be expensive to buy.
So, the convenience of throwing it on your compost pile is somewhat skewed by the funds you’ll need to shell out from your bank account.
But the bonus is you save on washing up.
Alternatively, if washing up isn’t an issue for you (or you have a dishwasher), simply use your standard ceramic plates or your Ikea plastic cups & plates.
Just making one better choice will help reduce your waste output significantly.
Do remember – you can always use your standard homeware at your party, normal plates and cups, and it’s great to do this!
In fact, guests prefer it as their food stays warmer for longer. And, of course, you’ll save a TON of waste going into your black bin.
Best renewable resource(s)
If you’re looking for a super simple rundown of non-wasteful materials to use in and around your home, these are what you’re looking for.
Anything made from:
Wood (such as wooden forks)
Cornstarch (such as cornstarch plates)
Sugar cane (again, plates and cups, etc)
Bamboo (such as bamboo cutlery)
Stainless steel (such as food containers)
Glass (bottles and jars)
And avoid these things:
Plastic water bottles
Plastic forks and knives
Hot food plastic takeaway boxes
Anything in non-recyclable packaging
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Go ahead and ask me anything about eco-friendly living. It’s a process – not an overnight thing (just in case you’re wondering!)