What started as a convenient alternative to silverware is now a severe pollutant. As most restaurant insiders would reveal, few plastic utensils ever get a second use, and all end up in the garbage at some point or another.
Plastic Utensils Leak Toxic Waste When Improperly Handled
Plastic cutlery is made from the most basic type of plastic—polystyrene, more familiarly known as Styrofoam. Studies from recent years have made it common knowledge that Styrofoam is neither recyclable nor biodegradable. When heated, polystyrene also releases styrene—what the EPA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer classify as a carcinogen. Toxic chemicals are then leaked into soil and water resources when heated up. This scenario happens often worldwide, on any given day when the sun is shining.
Indian Entrepreneur Invents Edible Cutlery to Replace Plastic Utensils
Plastic forks, knives, and spoons are major contributors to toxins that degrade the land and water sources in India. Narayana Peesapaty was motivated to solve this pollutant issue by creating biodegradable cutlery.
After several rounds of testing, a neat recipe was found, consisting of rice, wheat, millet, and water, to make a spoon that was both sturdy and tasty. Peesapaty then established Bakey’s to bring his disposable spoons to market. He is currently working on making a recipe strong enough for forks and knives.
As of May 2016, the cost for 100 spoons is about $4.85. With more buyers, Peesapaty intends to lower the cost by sourcing the grains directly from the farmers.
His spoons give consumers the same convenience that plastic cutlery does: a cheap cost and disposability. Intended for just one use, the spoons can be eaten or discarded. When left to biodegrade, the ingredients act as fertilizer for the soil.
Peesapaty is so in synch with the times that along with combatting plastic garbage, his edible cutlery provides nutrition for a low cost and boosts the millet industry.
If your restaurant currently serves plastic utensils, keep an eye on Bakey’s prices and consider a trial run. With more restaurants and consumers involved, the price of this edible cutlery will become as low as that of plastic utensils.