It is predicted that England alone uses 1.1 billion single-use plates and 4.25 billion items of single-use cutlery per year, but only 10% are recycled upon disposal. This contributes to widespread plastic pollution and environmental degradation which has a catastrophic impact on the environment, and endangers wild and marine life. Indeed The Ocean Conservancy ranks plastic cutlery as the second most dangerous plastic rubbish, right after fishing nets.
The good news is that, following a ban on plasticstraws, stirrers and cotton buds, the UK government plans to ban single-use plates and cutlery from April 2023. However, as individuals, we shouldn’t wait for the ban to come into place. We can get well ahead of the curve and make the switch now, cutting down on our plastic waste and getting prepared for the changes to come.
Want to learn more? We’re here to help! We answer all of your FAQs on reusable bamboo cutlery below, to help you commit to making the switch as soon as this week.
What Is Bamboo Cutlery?
Bamboo cutlery is a sustainable and lightweight alternative to single-use, plastic tableware, that has little to no impact on the environment. Unlike single-use plastic forks, knives and spoons, bamboo is a renewable material that is compostable and biodegradable, which means it doesn’t contribute to harmful plastic pollution and wider environmental degradation.
In the ideal situation, you want your bamboo alternatives to be FSC® Certified. This means it is certified against the principles and criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council®, including values such as maintaining the forest’s ecosystem, upholding indigenous people’s rights of land ownership, and a commitment to maintain or enhance the forests used.
How Is Bamboo Cutlery Made?
The typical processto create bamboo cutlery involves cutting bamboo culms to size and shape (spoon, fork or knife), and engraving, sanding, polishing and coating the piece. This is often done by bamboo artisans, carpenters, or other trained professionals.
Is Bamboo Cutlery Good for the Environment?
Yes, bamboo cutlery is good for the environment. It is a natural and renewable material — which comes from the fastest growing plant in the world —that has no negative impact on the environment. Unlike non-biodegradable plastic, once bamboo has been reused and disposed of, it decomposes fast and releases its nutrients back into the earth, which helps soil and plants to thrive.
Is Bamboo Cutlery Safe?
Bamboo cutlery is non-toxic and chemical-free, so it is safe to use. In fact, due to its naturally antimicrobial properties, and the harmful ingredients that single-use plastic and silicone contains, it is often considered the safer option.
Bamboo cutlery is also stronger than plastic, which means it is less likely to snap on use.
How Long Does Bamboo Cutlery Last?
This is dependent on the quality of their production. However, as long as it is looked after and cleaned after each use, bamboo cutlery can last for multiple years. Bambu Homehas reported that their well-cared for bamboo utensils have lasted in their kitchen for over 10 years!
How to Clean Bamboo Cutlery
To clean your bamboo cutlery, hand wash in warm water with a neutral or pH balanced detergent and a gentle dish brush, and dry straight after.
Is Bamboo Cutlery Dishwasher Safe?
No, bamboo cutlery is not dishwasher safe. The long exposure to hot water tends to over dry the material and shorten its life. You will need to hand wash your bamboo cutlery instead.
Can You Take Bamboo Cutlery on a Plane?
The government website states that spoons are allowed on planes, but traditional knives are not. It is therefore advised that you take plastic knives and forks, instead of metal.
However, in the interest of cutting down on single-use plastics, and the upcoming plastic utensil ban, check with your airline if you can travel with your bamboo cutlery set instead. As it is made from bamboo, and unlikely to have a sharp or pointed blade and/or blade longer than 6cm, you should be able to take it on a plane.
Wild & Stone's mission is to create stylish, easy to adopt and usable alternatives to common plastic products around the home. We source all our products sustainably, from raw material to final delivery. Shop our full range of Eco Home & Lifestyle products here.